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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 17:55 GMT
Sarah accused denied seeing her
Artist's impression of Roy Whiting in the dock with Sara and Michael Payne
Mr Whiting was arrested at his flat, the court has heard
The man accused of murdering Sarah Payne told police he did not know where she was when questioned the day after her disappearance, a court was told on Thursday.

Roy Whiting, 42, was asked in police interviews shortly after his arrest if he could enlighten them on Sarah's whereabouts.

He said he could not, Lewes Crown Court heard.

Sarah (right) with sister Charlotte
Sarah (right) with her sister Charlotte
Mr Whiting denies kidnapping and murdering the eight-year-old, who was snatched from a field near her grandparents' home in East Preston on 1 July.

He was questioned by Detective Inspector Paul Williams at his flat in Littlehampton, West Sussex, on 2 July last year.

Mr Williams had said: "I would not normally interview you at all at this stage, but we are concerned for the welfare of the missing girl, Sarah."

He asked Mr Whiting: "Can you tell me where Sarah is?"

"No, I can't," replied Mr Whiting.

'Sweating and shaking'

A police officer told the court Mr Whiting showed him "different t-shirts" after he was asked what he was wearing on the night Sarah disappeared.

Sarah's naked body was found in an isolated field close to the A29 road at Pulborough, West Sussex on 17 July.

The court heard that on the day following Sarah's disappearance police had arrested Mr Whiting after they had called at his home twice and then waited in an undercover police car.

They stopped his van as he left his flat at around 11pm on 2 July.

Roy Whiting
Roy Whiting denies kidnapping and murdering Sarah Payne
Mr Whiting was "shaking and sweating" when police trapped him outside his flat as he tried to drive away, the court heard.

Detective Constable Christopher Saunders had spoken to Mr Whiting earlier in the day and asked what he had been wearing the previous day.

Mr Whiting had showed him a white t-shirt in his van.

"It was rumpled up and it was dirty, it was grubby," said Mr Saunders.

Later that evening the officer watched from an unmarked police car as Mr Whiting went out to his van.


"He seemed to be moving things about and he seemed to be looking for something," said Mr Saunders.

It was when Mr Whiting went to get into the van at 11pm that police penned him in. He was then accused of being evasive to police.

Detective Sergeant Steven Wagstaff asked what he had removed from his van.

He first claimed it was a tool kit but when pressed admitted it was a T-shirt, the court heard.

Michael and Sara Payne
Michael and Sara Payne have attended court
Mr Whiting led the officer inside his flat and pulled a pair of socks and black t-shirt from his laundry basket.

But Mr Saunders told the jury that when he suggested this was not the T-shirt he had earlier seen in the van, Mr Whiting took out a clean neatly folded one from a bedroom drawer.

Mr Saunders said: "Again I said to him the T-shirt was not the one I had seen earlier. He said absolutely nothing".

Mr Whiting was then arrested on suspicion of abducting Sarah, he told the court.

Under cross-examination, Mr Saunders said: "Of the two T-shirts I saw that night they were worlds apart from each other. They were completely different T-shirts.


Mr Wagstaff said a till receipt for diesel fuel fell out from behind the steering wheel when Mr Whiting got out of his car.

The prosecution say the receipt was from a garage near where Sarah's body was found and timed at around 10pm on the night she was snatched.

The prosecution say this was proof that Mr Whiting had lied about his movements that night.

In interviews Mr Whiting had told police officers he had gone to the fair in Hove at 5.30pm the evening before and that he had driven home along the A27 road, arriving back at 9.30pm.

The BBC's Ben McCarthy
on the latest developments in court
Full coverage of the trial

The verdict

Catching a murderer

Protecting children


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