Girl killer jailed for life
A man was jailed for life on Tuesday for sexually assaulting and murdering a 12-year-old girl, before hiding her body in the attic of the home he shared with her grandmother. Stuart Hazell, 37, was told by a judge at London’s Old Bailey that he would serve a minimum of 38 years in prison for the murder of Tia Sharp in August last year. Hazell, who was the boyfriend of Tia’s grandmother, had finally admitted killing the schoolgirl on Monday, the fifth day of his trial, after previously claiming she died by falling down the stairs. Tia’s family were forced to sit through days of gruesome evidence, including a nude picture of the schoolgirl apparently taken after she died. The schoolgirl most likely died from being smothered, the judge said, but her body had decomposed by the time it was found. The court heard that Hazell, a window cleaner and convicted drug dealer, had developed a sexual attraction toward Tia while living with her grandmother for more than five years. He had previously also dated Tia’s mother. Hazell murdered Tia while her grandmother was working a night shift. The schoolgirl’s blood was found on a sex toy in the house and on Hazell’s belt, and his semen was on her sheets, the court heard. He wrapped her body in a sheet of plastic and hid it in the attic.
Couple jailed for exorcisms
An appeals court on Tuesday jailed a couple from the Democratic Republic of the Congo for having performed exorcisms on their daughter, who they considered to be a witch. The couple were both found guilty of aggravated assault. The father, 39, was sentenced to two years, three months behind bars, while his 34-year-old wife, who is the girl’s stepmother and who was judged to be the instigator of the abuse, was handed a two-and-a-half-year sentence. The couple were also ordered to pay the girl damages of 12,000 euros (US$15,500). Her age was not disclosed, but according to the local newspaper Boraas Tidning, she is about 10 and the events took place in 2010. The girl told the court she had been repeatedly targeted in exorcism sessions, had her arm cut with a burning knife to get her to confess her sins and had her head shaved because “the spirit” was in her hair. A second man, aged 40 and who claims to be a pastor, was also given an 15-month jail sentence for assault and ordered to pay the girl 2,300 euros in damages.
Pedophile links investigated
The Green Party is to launch an investigation into its active promotion in the 1980s of pedophile groups who lobbied for the legalization of sex with children. The party’s leadership has said it will commission an independent researcher to investigate “for how long and to what extent” such groups had an influence. The party’s chief whip, Jurgen Trittin, said the initiative aimed to take a close look at the “totally unacceptable demand” in the 1980s that sex with children should be made legal. The inquiry follows a row over the Green Party lawmaker Daniel Cohn-Bendit’s apparent endorsement of sex with children in his 1975 book The Great Bazaar, in which he reported on his alleged sexual interactions with children while working at an anti-authoritarian kindergarten in the 1970s. In the book, he wrote: “My constant flirtations with the children took on erotic characteristics. It happened to me several times that a few children undid my flies and started to stroke me.” The damning passage and a subsequent TV interview came back to haunt Cohn-Bendit when the remarks came to light ahead of an awards ceremony. Several people refused to attend the event.