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Wednesday, 28 November, 2001, 19:23 GMT
Hair clue 'one in a billion'
sweatshirt
Sweatshirt found in Roy Whiting's van
A blonde hair found in the van of the man accused of killing schoolgirl Sarah Payne had a billion-to-one chance of not being hers, a jury has been told.

Forensic examination of the nine-inch long hair, as well as fibres found at the site where Sarah's naked body was dumped, led detectives to believe Roy Whiting first kidnapped and then murdered the youngster.

Sarah disappeared from a country lane as she walked back to her grandparents' West Sussex home on 1 July last year.


In my opinion there is strong support for the findings being the result of an association between Sarah and the van

Forensic expert Raymond Chapman
The prosecution claims Mr Whiting snatched the eight-year-old using his white van.

The 42-year-old, from Littlehampton, West Sussex, denies the charges.

Forensic expert Raymond Chapman told Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday the chances of the hair found in Mr Whiting's Fiat Ducato van not being Sarah's was "in the order of one billion to one".

'Perfect match'

Mr Chapman also told the court how fibres found on the schoolgirl's shoe - the only item of her clothes ever recovered by police - were a perfect match for a red sweatshirt and a curtain found in Mr Whiting's van.

He said the forensic investigation had taken 18 months.

Mr Chapman, said the single hair was found on the sweatshirt.

Roy Whiting
Roy Whiting's solicitor advised him not to answer questions
His analysis of hundreds of fibres taken from the van and the burial site led him to believe there was "extremely strong support for an association between Sarah and the van".

"Either the findings are a result of an association between Sarah and van, or these matching fibres are the result of a chance coincidence.

"In my opinion there is strong support for the findings being the result of an association between Sarah and the van."

DNA profile

DNA analysis of the cuffs and collar of the sweatshirt provided a full match of Mr Whiting, proving he had worn the garment, he added.

They also traced a partial DNA match of Mr Whiting on the curtain and a pair of socks found in the van.

A total of 15 fibres from the socks were found among a total of 420 fibres in matted balls of Sarah's hair.

forensic papers
Forensic examination took 18 months
A semen stain found on the sleeve of a green tartan shirt also taken from the van provided another partial DNA match to Mr Whiting.

Mr Chapman said only one in 6,800 men could possibly have the same DNA profile.

The court also heard that two hair brushes from the Payne family home had been packaged by police but some hair had escaped.

Blue dress

Timothy Langdale QC, prosecuting, asked Mr Chapman if it was possible for the hair found on the red sweatshirt to have made its way from one of the brush bags to the garment.

Mr Chapman said: "I thought it was very unlikely that the hair had been transferred from the hair brush packaging onto the sweatshirt as opposed to being on the sweatshirt all along."

Michael and Sara Payne
Michael and Sara Payne have attended court
However, one hair that did manage to escape from the sticky adhesive envelope was tested and found to be that of Sarah's younger sister Charlotte.

The blue dress Sarah was wearing on the day she went missing has never been recovered.

The discarded shoe was found four miles from where Sarah's body was discovered.

The trial continues on Thursday.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
with the latest details from court
Full coverage of the trial

The verdict

Catching a murderer

Protecting children

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