BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
N Ireland
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Friday, 23 November, 2001, 17:26 GMT
Sarah accused 'had scratches'
Artist's impression of Roy Whiting in the dock with Sara and Michael Payne
Mr Whiting did not explain his scratches, the jury heard
The man accused of murdering schoolgirl Sarah Payne had scratches on his body when he was arrested, Lewes Crown Court has heard.

The jury was told Roy Whiting, 42, gave no explanation for the wounds, discovered during a medical examination less than two days after Sarah was abducted.

They also heard that Mr Whiting had dramatically changed his appearance from scruffy to smart after she disappeared.

Mr Whiting, of Littlehampton, West Sussex, denies kidnapping and murdering the eight-year-old, who vanished on 1 July of last year.


The three scratches were found on Mr Whiting when Dr Ewan Gerrard examined him at Chichester police station on 3 July.

Dr Gerrard described how he found a one-inch scratch on the left of Mr Whiting's chest, on his ribs. It was said to be between two and three days' old.

He also found a smaller scratch of less than an inch on Mr Whiting's right forearm and another superficial one on his left upper arm - both of which appeared to be between one and two days' old.

Dr Gerrard said Mr Whiting was unshaven with grey hair and ingrained dirt on his hands and under his fingernails.

'Very scruffy'

The jury also heard evidence from a builder who had employed Mr Whiting and bumped into him on the evening of 2 July.

Roy Whiting
Roy Whiting 'had three scratches'
Terence Heath said Mr Whiting had dramatically changed his dress and cleanliness and he also immediately noticed he had changed the rear doors in his white van, installing doors with windows.

On day six of the trial, Mr Heath was asked by Crispin Aylett, junior counsel for the prosecution, how Mr Whiting normally looked.

Mr Heath said: "Very scruffy, very dirty, unshaven. He never smelled but always looked very untidy and dirty. His clothes were dirty."

Mr Heath saw Mr Whiting outside the defendant's flat in St Augustine Road, Littlehampton, West Sussex, on 2 July, he said.

"He was very smart and very clean, steam-cleaned... I had never seen him looking so smart before," he said.

Memory 'inaccurate'

Sally O'Neill QC, for Mr Whiting, suggested that Mr Heath had become influenced by what he had read in the newspapers after 2 July, and that his statement to police had not been accurate.

Under cross-examination, Mr Heath accepted that people on building sites often looked scruffy, and that he had only ever seen Mr Whiting away from the site once before.

Earlier the court heard how Mr Whiting had been wearing a dirty T-shirt and muddy stained jeans when arrested by police on 2 July, shortly after he met Mr Heath in the street.


A custody officer at Chichester police station told the court Mr Whiting spoke to her while smoking a cigarette in the early hours of 3 July.

He told her police had repeatedly asked him about where he was driving on the night of 1 July, the day Sarah disappeared. Mr Whiting told police he had been to a funfair in Hove that evening.

The court heard how Mr Whiting told officer Sarah Gaskin: "I do not remember which road it was."

Miss Gaskin said: "He did mention that he was going to go and see his father but changed his mind."

The trial was adjourned until 1000GMT on Monday.

Sarah's naked body was found in an isolated field close to the A29 road at Pulborough, West Sussex on 17 July, 2000.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"He said he found 3 scratches on Roy Whiting's body"
Full coverage of the trial

The verdict

Catching a murderer

Protecting children


See also:

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |