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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 16:41 GMT
Sarah's murderer convicted
Roy Whiting
Roy Whiting has been sentenced to life for the murder and kidnapping of eight-year-old Sarah Payne in July 2000.

The jury of nine men and three women at Lewes Crown Court delivered a unanimous decision on the serial sex offender after a trial lasting almost four weeks. The judge recommended that Whiting is never released from prison.

BBC News Online brings you reaction to the verdict of the trial and looks back at the case that enraged the nation.


18 December 2001
Discussions on Sarah's Law will continue in the New Year
Sara and Michael Payne
The parents of Sarah Payne meet the Home Secretary to discuss allowing restricted public access to the sex offenders register. The Paynes describe their meeting as "very positive" and say David Blunkett has assured them that protecting children was the government's highest priority.

 The BBC's Paul Anstiss reports


17 December 2001
Judge John Gower
Judge John Gower denies failing to properly protect the public.
There's been criticism of Judge John Gower who sentenced Roy Whiting to four years in prison on a previous occasion when he abducted a young girl. Whiting served just two and a half years in prison before being released and subsequently murdering Sarah Payne.

 The BBC's Niall Dickson reports


13 December 2001
Tributes to Sarah Payne
Laying flowers after Sarah's body was discovered
The immense courage shown by Sarah's parents throughout their ordeal touched the hearts of all those who lived and worked in the area where her body was found. The BBC returns to the village of Pulborough to gauge reaction to the news that her killer is now behind bars.

 The BBC's David Harrison reports


12 December 2001 - The verdict
Reaction
Sarah Payne
Sarah's parents said their daughter could now rest in peace

Outside court Sarah's parents Sara and Michael welcomed the verdict saying: "This doesn't make us happy but justice has been done." They also called on the government to change the law to ensure it does not happen again.

 Sarah's mother Sara: "Let's make sure this stops happening time and time again."

 Sussex Police's Alan Ladley: "One person will not be able to abduct and murder other little girls in the future"

 Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman Alison Saunders: "We're glad that justice has been done today"


The investigation
Roy Whiting's van
The prosecution argued Whiting altered his van to dispose of forensic evidence
Whiting's conviction is the result of a lengthy police investigation which relied heavily on forensic evidence. A strand of Sarah's hair had been found on Whiting's sweatshirt, and fibres from his van were found on her hair and shoe.

 The BBC's Robert Hall reports on the investigation


Whiting's criminal history
Roy Whiting
Roy Whiting was on the register of sexual offenders
Roy Whiting was already a convicted paedophile before he killed Sarah Payne. Both the police and the probation service in Sussex have told the BBC that they feared he would strike again, but were powerless to stop him.

 The BBC's Social Affairs editor Niall Dickson profiles Roy Whiting and his previous conviction


Sarah's family
Sarah's siblings
Sarah's brothers were the last to see her before her abduction
Sarah's mother and father, Sara and Michael, were present for most of the trial. But the family had to face more than a year of uncertainty before seeing the conviction of the man they had always been sure killed Sarah.

 The BBC's Daniel Sandford on how the family coped with their ordeal


7 February 2001
Police restrain a protester
A man shouts abuse as Roy Whiting is driven from court
Roy Whiting is remanded in custody after being formally charged with the kidnapping and murder of Sarah Payne. Heavy police security is needed as a crowd of more than 200 people besiege the courtroom for the 42-year-old mechanic's appearance.

 The BBC's Robert Hall reports from Chichester Magistrates Court


18 July 2000
Sarah Payne
Sarah's body was found 10 miles from the spot where she disappeared
Police launch a murder hunt after the body of Sarah Payne is found in undergrowth near a field in Pulborough, West Sussex. The eight-year-old had not been seen since going missing from fields near her grandparents' home on 1 July.

 The BBC's Robert Hall reports

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