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Sunday, 17 September, 2000, 21:58 GMT 22:58 UK
Paedophile protests to re-start
Protesters in Paulsgrove
Earlier protests led to violence and intimidation
Anti-paedophile protesters have voted to re-start their marches following Home Secretary Jack Straw's decision not to grant public access to the sex offenders' register.

The campaigners from the Paulsgrove estate in Portsmouth, Hampshire, also discussed lobbying Prime Minister Tony Blair at the Labour Party conference in Brighton later this month.

The decision to revive their protests - the first of which will take place through the estate next Saturday night - followed a peaceful candlelit vigil staged by residents on Sunday.

About 35 people gathered for the vigil, which included a one-minute silence in memory of children murdered or abused by sex offenders.

Sarah Payne
Sarah Payne's death sparked public anger

The campaigners have renewed their calls for tougher sentencing, tagging and compulsory treatment for paedophiles.

They also want an international register of all living sex offenders, more powers for police, and counselling and criminal compensation for victims.

They said paedophiles should also be housed away from children in monitored accommodation on their release from prison, and should not be allowed to work with children.

The campaigners said Sunday's vigil had been triggered by Mr Straw's decision to deny public access to the sex offenders' register under the so-called Sarah's Law.

Mr Straw has instead unveiled a package of measures to strengthen the protection of children.

The measures were prompted by public outcry over paedophiles, following the murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne in West Sussex.

Her mother, Sara, has said the campaign for Sarah's Law, similar to American legislation Megan's Law, would continue.

No word from lorry driver

Meanwhile, Sussex police have revealed that a lorry driver, who they think may have seen Sarah's killer, has not made contact with them.

Neither the driver, nor the company which owns the lorry have been in touch with the murder squad, based at Littlehampton, since the appeal was made 10 days ago.

The lorry was travelling along the A29 near Pulborough, West Sussex on 1 July - the day Sarah went missing.

It was forced to brake to avoid crashing into a white van which was pulling out of a side road close to where Sarah's body was found.

Public anger over Sarah's death prompted some people - including the Paulsgrove residents - to take to the streets. In some cases, attacks were carried out on the homes of suspected paedophiles.

Katrina Kessel, of Residents Against Paedophiles, said on Sunday: "We don't want violence but it seems that was the only time it's ever been noticed.

"We don't want to upset any old or innocent people and we will keep the chanting quite calm but there are a lot of people on this estate who need to voice their frustrations."

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