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EDITIONS
Friday, 16 November, 2001, 17:42 GMT
DNA 'proof' in Sarah case
Sarah Payne
One of Sarah's hairs 'was in Mr Whiting's van'
A single strand of Sarah Payne's hair was found on a sweatshirt in Roy Whiting's van and proves he was the man who kidnapped and murdered her, a court has heard.

Timothy Langdale QC said the DNA profile matched the eight-year-old's perfectly and there was a "one in a billion" chance the blonde hair did not belong to her.

Sarah was probably killed because Mr Whiting, 42, did not want to risk her identifying him or his van, he told Lewes Crown Court.

Mr Whiting, of Littlehampton, West Sussex, denies abducting and murdering Sarah in July of last year.

Scruffy appearance

Mr Langdale told the jury the hair was perhaps "the most important single item" of evidence in the case and provided "a compelling picture" of Mr Whiting's guilt.

He said fibres from the sweatshirt and from a curtain in Mr Whiting's van were also found on a shoe thought to be Sarah's.

Taken together, these pieces of evidence provide "extremely strong support that these are a result of Sarah Payne being in that van," Mr Langdale said.


He altered his appearance of his van after Saturday and he was a man who knew the area of the field in Kingston Lane

Timothy Langdale QC
"If that's the case then Roy Whiting was the man who seized her in Kingston Lane, or Peak Lane and he was the man who killed her, disposed of her clothing and the man who undoubtedly went out during the night and buried her in that field."

The QC said Mr Whiting had attempted to get rid of his normally scruffy appearance the day after Sarah was snatched and appeared "steam cleaned".

He suggested Mr Whiting's change of appearance may well explain why Sarah's brother Lee, 13, had not picked him out in a police line-up, despite seeing her kidnapper.

Witnesses

The jury also heard Mr Whiting owned a white van like the one seen at the spot where Sarah vanished and by several witnesses in the area where her body was discovered.

Sara Payne
Sarah's mother, Sara, attended court on Friday
He said the rear doors, wooden panelling and partition were all removed from the van, possibly to change its appearance and to remove evidence of Sarah's presence.

Mr Langdale said a receipt from a petrol station was also found in the van, bought several days earlier by Mr Whiting.

It showed that on the night Sarah was taken he was near the spot where she was eventually found and not at a funfair in Hove as he had claimed.

Knowledge

The jury was told that Mr Whiting had a good knowledge of both the area where Sarah was abducted and where her body was found dumped.

Mr Langdale said he had been employed as a builder near Sarah's grandparents' home in Kingston Gorse.

He told the jury: "He owned a van similar to the one described by Lee, he lied about his whereabouts on Saturday evening and on Sunday, he altered his appearance of his van after Saturday and he was a man who knew the area of the field in Kingston Lane."

The trial continues.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"Forensics are at the centre of the case"
See also:

16 Nov 01 | England
15 Nov 01 | England
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