The step-grandad of missing 12-year-old Tia Sharp has denied having anything to do with her disappearance.
Stuart Hazell, the partner of Tia’s grandmother Christine Sharp, is believed to have been one of the last people to see the Mitcham schoolgirl before she went missing from The Lindens, New Addington, last Friday.
The 37-year-old, who has a previous conviction for dealing drugs and possession of a machete, said he ‘loved Tia to bits’ and pleaded for her to come home.
In an interview with ITV News, Mr Hazell said: “Did I do anything to Tia? No, I didn’t.
“I love her to bits; she is like my own daughter. She has a loving home. She wanted it, she got it.
“I know deep down she walked out of here. I know deep down she walked down that path. What happened after that I don’t know.”
Asked whether he felt people were pointing the finger at him, Mr Hazell replied: “I do feel that people are pointing the finger at me because until the other day it was known that I was the last person to see her but I wasn’t.
“It’s not about me it’s about Tia; we have got to get her home.”
Mr Hazell, who used to date Tia’s mother Natalie Sharp, 30, was interviewed by detectives yesterday, but insisted he had wanted to clarify his statement with officers.
He said he had given Tia £10 pocket money for helping him in the garden.
On the morning Tia disappeared he said he had been doing housework and hoovering, when she came downstairs “about half ten, eleven.”
“She had been going on about going to Croydon and getting up early. She come downstairs, sat down, watching telly, played the DS, she had toast, then wanted a sausage roll- she was always eating sausage rolls.”
He said Tia had gone upstairs to get changed, before leaving.
“As I was hoovering, she walked past me, from the front room to go out the front door.
“I said well make sure you are back at six, she went “yeah yeah yeah” and that was it and the door closed and she walks out.”
Asked if he had a message for Tia, Mr Hazell broke down and said: “Tia, come home babe, come and eat your dinner.
“I want my £10 back for my garden; we love you come back babe.”
Tomorrow marks one week since Tia was last seen.
Anyone with information should contact the incident room on 0208 721 4005 or Missing People on 116 000 quoting reference 12MIS025216.