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Stuart Hazell: 'The media made me look like Jack the Ripper'

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STUART Hazell told his boss the media were making him look like "Jack the Ripper". The jury were told that the window cleaner exchanged a series of text messages with Adrian Van Aalst after he failed to turn up to work on August 3. Mr Van Aalst, who ran AVA Windows and sublet some of his work to Hazell, described his employee as "polite, friendly and well presented". He added that Hazell was "not the sharpest tool in the box" and had the ability to change version of events. In February 2012, Hazell told Van Aalst that his father had died of a heart attack. He went into "great detail", breaking down in tears while on the job and taking time off work. Mr Van Aalst later read a newspaper interview with Hazell's father following Tia's disappearance. "If this was not true and his father is not dead, I would say he is a fantastic liar," said Mr Van Aalst in a statement read to the jury. Hazell was supposed to be working on August 3. His boss sent a text asking if he was okay but received no reply. The following morning he asked if Hazell was "calling it a day". Hazell replied: "Sorry mate but my granddaughter is missing. We reported it to the police. She is 12 years old. We have been scouring the parks. It's on the critical list. It's all over Facebook and Twitter." While the search for Tia focused on New Addington, and the pressure grew on Hazell, he appeared to contradict himself. He told Mr Van Aalst that Tia had gone missing at midday on August 3. His boss replied: "What happened to you with work in the morning?" "Stuart started to stutter, he was very hesitant, there was a lot of umming," said Mr Van Aalst. "He went on to say he had his granddaughter and was mumbling away." On August 5, with the media camped outside the house, he texted: "Still no news. This is a ******* nightmare come true. Didn't even think this would or even could happen." Three days later he messaged Mr Van Aalst again: "Bastards are getting everything wrong, they are making me look like Jack the Ripper." He added: "Hand on heart mate, I don't know where she is. I wish I did. This is madness. I had nothing to do with it." Hazell told his partner Christine Bicknell, Tia's grandmother, he could not go to work on August 3 because his colleague's car was broken. Mr Aalst said there had been nothing wrong with the vehicle.Christine Bicknell says Tia idolised Hazell. A summary of yesterday's proceedings can be read here.

Stuart Hazell: 'The media made me look like Jack the Ripper'


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