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Thursday, 3 August, 2000, 05:44 GMT 06:44 UK
Paynes recall horror of Sarah's discovery
Sara and Michael Payne
The Paynes say they couldn't believe the news of Sarah's discovery
The parents of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne have been describing the awful moment when they heard their daughter's body had been found.

Mother Sara said in an interview with the Mirror newspaper that she felt "sick and numb" when two officers arrived at Sarah's grandparents' home in Kingston Gorse, West Sussex to break the news.


Now I am determined something good has to come out of what's happened to Sarah

Sara Payne

Sarah's father Michael, also talked of his distress that her brother Lee, 13, had heard the news on television before his parents were able to tell him.

The interview came as the Mirror announced it was backing the News of the World's campaign to "name and shame" paedophiles and defended it against critics who branded it "reckless and irresponsible".

Paedophile register

The Paynes have now called for a public register of convicted paedophiles.

They said they were behind the News of the World's decision to print photographs and details of more than 110,000 convicted sex offenders, following the murder of eight-year-old Sarah in July.

In its editorial, the Mirror has also called for the government to bring in "Sarah's Law", creating a public register of sex offenders so parents can find out if any live nearby.
Letters arrive at the News of the World
The newspaper says 240,000 have signed its petition
In the Mirror, Sarah's parents described the day their hope was shattered for good.

Mrs Payne, 31, said: "I just refused to believe it. I said it couldn't be her. It couldn't be true. I had hoped for so long she was alive. I could not accept the body they had found was Sarah's."

The only consolation for the grieving family, according to Mrs Payne, was that Sarah's body had actually been found.

"I can't imagine what it would be like never to see a child again, like in the Suzy Lamplugh case. I would just go on hoping forever. It would destroy me."


I can't imagine what it would be like never to see a child again, like in the Suzy Lamplugh case. I would just go on hoping forever. It would destroy me

Sara Payne

The Payne's attended a meeting on Wednesday between the News of the World and critics of its campaign.

Probation officers, children's charities and offenders' groups are among those who say the campaign risks driving paedophiles underground.

Wednesday's talks coincided with the release of a Home Office report which said the Sex Offender Register used to keep track of paedophiles was working well.

Home Office Minister Charles Clarke said compliance with the register among sex offenders was rising and had reached 97%.

But the report, entitled Where are they Now?, also said there was "widespread police concern" about the scope of the Act and resources for monitoring paedophiles.

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See also:

02 Aug 00 | Unions 2000
Paedophile warning over child carers
01 Aug 00 | UK
Police free Sarah suspect
24 Jul 00 | UK
To name and shame
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