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EDITIONS
Thursday, 6 December, 2001, 15:47 GMT
Sarah evidence 'enough to convict'
Court sketch showing Timothy Langdale QC prosecuting watched by accused Roy Whiting
Roy Whiting had lied about his movements, court heard
The jury in the Sarah Payne murder trial has been told there are "enough pieces of the jigsaw" to convict her alleged killer.

Timothy Langdale QC began his closing speech for the prosecution by saying there was "sufficient and compelling evidence" to convict the accused, Roy Whiting.

He had lied in the witness box about his movements the day the eight-year-old went missing, Mr Langdale told the jury.

And the discovery of a strand of Sarah's hair on a sweatshirt belonging to Mr Whiting was "fatal" to the defence case, he said.

Mr Whiting, 42, from Littlehampton denies abducting and murdering the schoolgirl.

'Jigsaw of proof'

Sarah went missing on 1 July last year after playing near her grandparents' home in Kingston Gorse, West Sussex.

Mr Langdale said the evidence added up to a clear picture of Mr Whiting's guilt.


This was the man who seized Sarah Payne on that Saturday evening, killed her and buried her body

Timothy Langdale QC
"What we submit is that there are so many pieces of the jigsaw available and established by evidence with clarity, that the picture itself is clear," he told the jury.

"The picture is that this defendant was the man who seized Sarah Payne on that Saturday evening, killed her and buried her body in that field."

Mr Whiting had constantly changed his story of his whereabouts the day Sarah had gone missing, he said.

He had told police one version but gave a different account in the witness box, the jury was told.

'Lied over movements'

"The prosecution say he wasn't telling the truth in version number one on the Sunday evening and he wasn't telling the truth in version number two in December 2001," Mr Langdale said.

Roy Whiting
Roy Whiting denies the charges against him
Mr Langdale told the jury that a receipt for diesel from a garage proved that Mr Whiting had been near Pulborough on 1 July - not far from where Sarah's body was later found.

This receipt showed he had lied about his movements, Mr Langdale said.

"The one thing he did not want to mention to the police on that Sunday evening was that he had been at the garage at that time. One can perhaps see the obvious reason why.

"Nobody, save the man who had done it, knew where Sarah's body was buried. Sarah was a little girl who had gone missing as far as the police were concerned."

'Damning' evidence

Mr Langdale said pieces of the jigsaw became more and more revealing as the investigation continued.

The discovery of a nine-inch strand of Sarah's hair on a red sweatshirt found in Mr Whiting's van was "damning" proof that he had snatched the eight-year-old, he said.

Sarah (right) with sister Charlotte
Sarah (right) went missing on 1 July last year
It was backed up by other pieces of forensic fibre evidence linking the defendant to Sarah, he said.

He tackled the issue of contamination, telling the jury there were several "big ifs" that they would have to surmount if they were to find that the hair had been transferred to the sweatshirt by some other means than Sarah being in Whiting's van.

And he reminded the jury of items found in Mr Whiting's van - a length of rope, two plastic ties and a knife as well as a bottle of baby oil.

The trial has been adjourned and the defence will begin summing up on Friday.

Full coverage of the trial

The verdict

Catching a murderer

Protecting children

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
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