Tia Sharp’s grandmother has spoken of the devastating realisation she was “living with a monster” who had hidden the girl’s dead body in their house.

Christine Bicknell, who spent five-and-a-half years as Stuart Hazell’s partner, insisted she had no idea about the killer’s dark secret as he comforted her about Tia’s disappearance.

The 47-year-old, who revealed she blamed herself for her granddaughter’s death, said: “I loved Tia with all my heart, but I let my baby down and I will never be able to get over it.

“I spent five nights in that house being cuddled and comforted by the man I loved, praying for Tia to come home safely.”

Tia’s mum, Natalie, stayed with Hazell and Ms Bicknell at their house in the Lindens, New Addington, while they searched for the schoolgirl.

Ms Bicknell, who worked at a nursing home, said: “But all the time Tia’s body was above us, all alone wrapped in binbags – and he had killed her.

“But I swear, there were no clues I was living with a monster. I feel nothing but pure hatred for Stuart Hazell.”