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The BBC's Robert Hall
"They now know that the trial will date has been set for mid-November"
 real 56k

Friday, 18 May, 2001, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
Sarah accused denies murder
Sarah Payne
Sarah Payne: Body found 16 days after she disappeared
The man accused of killing eight-year-old Sarah Payne has pleaded not guilty to her kidnap and murder at court.

Roy Whiting, a 42-year-old mechanic, spoke only to confirm his name and enter his pleas during a 15-minute hearing at Lewes Crown Court, in East Sussex.

Mr Whiting, formerly of St Augustine's Road in Littlehampton, was remanded in custody to appear again on Friday 7 September.

Sarah, from Hersham, Surrey, disappeared near her grandparents' home in Kingston Gorse, East Preston, on 1 July last year.

Police restraining man shouting abuse as Roy Whiting last appeared at court
A man shouts abuse during Roy Whiting's last court appearance
Her partially-buried body was found 16 days later a short distance from the A29 near Pulborough, West Sussex.

At Friday's hearing, Judge Richard Brown set Mr Whiting's trial date for 13 November at Lewes Crown Court.

In front of a packed public gallery, Mr Whiting, wearing black jeans and a blue, white and red striped rugby-style shirt, remained impassive throughout the hearing.

Among those in court was Sara Payne, the mother of the murdered schoolgirl, who also attended Mr Whiting's previous court appearance.

Mr Whiting has been dealt with under the new fast track programme designed to speed up the legal system and its handling of criminal prosecutions.

The changes came about when the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), David Calvert-Smith QC, deemed that the old system of putting a serious criminal case through the courts was taking far too long.

The police operation for the murder investigation has cost more than 1m.

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