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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 15:59 GMT
Whiting guilty of Sarah Payne murder
Roy Whiting
Whiting: one of the first to be placed on the Sex Offenders' Register
There were cheers in Lewes Crown Court as Roy Whiting was found guilty of the kidnap and murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne.

The judge told Whiting: "You are every parent's and grandparent's nightmare come true. You are indeed an evil man."

Then he sentenced Whiting to life in jail, with a recommendation that he never be released.

It has now emerged that Whiting was a convicted child sex offender. He was known to the Sussex police and social services, and was regarded as at a high risk of re-offending.

A single strand of Sarah Payne's hair provided police with a vital link between the schoolgirl and her killer.

The hair was found on a sweatshirt in Roy Whiting's van. It proved to be the breakthrough the police had needed several months into their inquiry.

Ben McCarthy reports on the background to the case for PM.

One of those in court as the verdict was handed down was Stuart Kuttner, the managing editor of the News of the World.

After Sarah Payne's death this was the newspaper that published the names and photographs of convicted peadophiles.

He told PM that his newspaper's campaign had been vindicated - and called for parents to be given controlled access to a paedophile register.

Norman Baker is the MP for Lewes, and the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman. He pointed out that the sex offenders' register had failed to prevent Roy Whiting from re-offending - and murdering Sarah Payne.

Michelle Elliot, the director of the charity Kidscape, said "naming and shaming" newspaper campaigns did not work. What is needed are more resources for the police to keep track of convicted paedophiles after they had been released, she explained.

Click on the audio links above right to hear these reports and interviews.

Ben McCarthy
on the background to the case
Stuart Kuttner
The Sarah's law campaign has been vindicated
Norman Baker
Indefinite sentences should be given for the most serious sexual offences
Michelle Elliot
Whiting should never have been released from jail

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