PUBLISHED: 06:43 EST, 16 August 2012
UPDATED: 09:06 EST, 16 August 2012
By: DailyMail (Link Below)

  • A post  mortem this afternoon has failed to establish how Tia Sharp  died
  • Further  tests are now ongoing
  • Tia’s  grandmother’s partner Stuart Hazell appeared at the Old Bailey via video link  charged with her murder yesterday
  • The  12-year-old’s body will be released for her funeral when this week’s medical  tests are completed

The body of missing  schoolgirl Tia Sharp was so badly decomposed police identified her from her  dental records. Detectives struggled to  formally identify the 12-year-old after they discovered her in the sweltering  loft of her grandmother’s home.

The details emerged as  an inquest opened into her death at Croydon Coroner’s Court in South London this  morning.

Police have said a post  moretem, completed this afternoon, failed to establish a cause  of death, more  than six days after she was found.

More tests are now  ongoing to determine how the young girl died.

Coroner Dr Roy Palmer  adjourned any further inquiries until the criminal case concludes after a five  minute hearing. He said he would release  Tia’s body as soon as this week’s medical tests are completed, However this could be  delayed if Stuart Hazell, her grandmother’s lover, requests a second post mortem  as part of his defence.

A police spokesman said:  ‘A full post-mortem at Croydon Mortuary has concluded. ‘It did not establish a  formal cause of death and we await the results of further  tests.’

The suspect appeared at  the Old Bailey yesterday via video link from Belmarsh Prison accused of her  murder.

Dr Palmer said: ‘I  understand that the body of a young woman was found at an address in New  Addington. ‘I understand that it  can now be confirmed that the body has been positively identified and the body  is that of Tia Sharp.

Det Sgt Eric Sword, who  is part of the murder team, confirmed that following ‘tests’ Tia had been  identified. He said: ‘The  examination in relation to the cause of death remains ongoing, it remains  under investigation.’

Police suspect Tia was  smothered to death before her body was wrapped in a black bed sheet, put in a  bin bag and dumped in the loft. Her disappearance  triggered a huge search operation involving more than 100 police officers and  many more volunteers.

She was eventually found  at the small terraced council home of her grandmother, Christine Sharp, 46, in  New Addington, near Croydon.

Suspect: Stuart Hazell, the last man to see Tia Sharp alive, is accused of her murder

Suspect Pictured: The partner of Tia Sharp’s grandmother Stuart Hazell.

Scotland Yard admitted  that her body was missed during an earlier search due to ‘human error’ and  apologised to her mother Natalie, 31. A senior officer  suggested it may have been moved before a dog trained to detect blood and  decomposition eventually raised the alarm.

Hazell is the last  person said to have seen Tia alive and claimed she had gone to Croydon to buy  flip-flops without her Oyster card or mobile phone promising to be home by 6pm  on August 3.

Police trawled through  more than 800 hours of CCTV footage and investigated 60 reported sightings and  more than 300 calls cops but find no trace of her leaving estate.

Police only discovered  Tia’s body after  several visits to the terraced property, and have apologised  to her  mother, Natalie Sharp, for the delay. Mrs Sharp, who was  arrested on suspicion of murder, and her neighbour, Paul Meehan, 39, who was  arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, have been released on bail until  October.

Neighbours have warned  that neither may be able to return home because of the angry mood on the  estate. A serious case review has been launched into Tia’s death by Merton  Council, which has responsibility for Mitcham, south London, where Tia lived  with her mother.