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Sunday, 29 July, 2001, 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK
Sarah's mother attacks 'sick' offer
Sarah Payne
Sarah Payne's death led to an anti-paedophile campaign
The parents of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne have been offered just 5,500 compensation each, it has been reported.

The eight-year-old was abducted from a country lane 150 yards from her grandparents' home in Kingston Gorse, West Sussex, on 1 July 2000.

Her body was discovered two weeks later off the A27 near Pulborough.

We are appalled at what we have been offered - it is a sick joke

Sara Payne
Sarah's mother
Mother Sara Payne told the News of the World said: "The world seems to have its values upside down.

"If money is going to be used to reflect levels of suffering and loss then this is crazy."

Criminal compensation is calculated on a strict tariff basis.

Mr and Mrs Payne have not yet signed the offer from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority but any appeal would require them to persuade a panel of their suffering.

Tragic anniversary

Josie Russell, who survived the hammer attack that killed her mother and sister, and Lisa Potts, who was injured protecting her nursery class from a machete-wielding attacker, both had their compensation increased.

Mrs Payne continued: "We received the letter just a few days before the anniversary of Sarah's body being found.

Sara Payne
Sarah's mother said money was not the issue
"You can imagine how it made us feel."

Mrs Payne said she had not originally wanted to apply for compensation but was urged to by police.

"Money can't bring our daughter back.

"We are appalled at what we have been offered - it is a sick joke."

Norman Brennan, director of the Victims of Crime Trust, said the Paynes should join other parents who have lost a child and launch a campaign.

He said: "The authority is very cold and calculated.

Wrong priorities

"This pay-out goes to show how little someone's life is worth. But this is the maximum under the law that can be awarded in this instance."

Mr Brennan maintained the legal system had the wrong priorities.

The authority is very cold and calculated

Norman Brennan
Victims of Crime Trust
"In civil law people have won hundreds of thousands of pounds.

"Last year someone was awarded 62,000 for being called an Irish prat.

"The only thing the Paynes can do is to join up with other families and campaign for a change in the legislation.

"But it is not really about the money, it is more about the state accepted the loss and showing some sort of respect for the family of someone who has been murdered.

"This pay-out would just about cover the funeral expenses."

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