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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 21 November, 2001, 19:38 GMT
Sarah accused was a 'loner'
Artist's impression of Roy Whiting in the dock with Sara and Michael Payne
Sarah's parents have been hearing the evidence
The man accused of murdering schoolgirl Sarah Payne was a "loner without many friends", his former employer told a court on Tuesday.

Another former work colleague said Roy Whiting had an intimate knowledge of the area where the eight-year-old's body was found an isolated field close to the A29 road at Pulborough, West Sussex.


I would describe Roy as a loner without many friends

Douglas Wawman
Ex-employer

Mr Whiting, 42, of Littlehampton, West Sussex, denies kidnapping and murdering Sarah in July last year.

The prosecution claims Mr Whiting, of Littlehampton, West Sussex, snatched the eight-year-old from a lane in Kingston Gorse, West Sussex, on 1 July last year before murdering her and dumping her body in a shallow grave, where it was discovered 17 days later.

Douglas Wawman, a self-employed builder, who employed Mr Whiting on several jobs as a labourer, said in a statement to Lewes Crown Court: "I would describe Roy as a loner without many friends."

He said the accused had also worked on his son's property in East Preston, near to where Sarah went missing.

During this time Mr Whiting had taken his son's dog for walks in the surrounding area, he added.

He said: "Whilst working with Roy, we didn't talk much because I wanted him working not talking.


He seemed to have a good knowledge of the area...He knew back roads that I would never have known that existed.

Paul Beaton
Mr Whiting's workmate

"I would describe Roy as a loner without many friends and someone I had nothing or very little in common with."

Paul Beaton, who worked with Mr Whiting on a number of jobs, said: "He seemed to have a good knowledge of the area...He knew back roads that I would never have known that existed. He knew farm tracks and he used them.

'He knew directions from memory'

"Roy never used a map and knew the directions from memory."

Motorist Deborah Bray told the trial how she spotted one of the schoolgirl's shoes in a lane not far from where her body had been found.

The black shoe was identified by Sarah's mother Sara Payne, the court heard.

Police forensic experts found a number of fibres on a Velcro strap on the shoe, matching certain items found in a van belonging to defendant Roy Whiting, the jury was told.

Sarah (right) with sister Charlotte
Sarah (right) with her sister Charlotte

Mrs Bray said spotted the shoe while driving through the village of Coolham, near Pulborough, West Sussex.

She contacted police on 17 July when she realised the spot where she had seen the shoe was four miles from where Sarah's body was found dumped in a shallow grave.

'Vital piece of evidence'

Mrs Bray gave the shoe to police and it became a vital piece of police evidence.

She said: "I first saw the shoe on July 3. It was in the middle of the road. It was being moved across the road by traffic and was in the curb by the Thursday or Friday after I'd spotted it.

"I contacted the police incident room after hearing that a body had been found on July 17. I then went to the scene where I had seen the shoe and parked my car.

"I then walked along the road and picked up the shoe very carefully."

The jury heard that the shoe was immediately placed in a brown paper bag by the police, for fear of it being contaminated by other evidence.

The court also heard a statement from archaeologist Lucy Sibin, who said the shallow grave in which Sarah's body was found had not been pre-prepared.

The trial continues.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy in Lewes
"This trial has been an ordeal for the Payne family"
See also:

19 Nov 01 | England
16 Nov 01 | England
15 Nov 01 | England
18 May 01 | UK
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