Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Sara Payne 'stable and talking'

Sara Payne
Sara Payne was made Victims' Champion at the beginning of 2009

Child protection campaigner Sara Payne is responding well to treatment after she was taken to hospital with complications following brain surgery.

Ms Payne, 40, was taken to St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London, in a critical condition on 23 December.

A hospital spokesman said she was now in "a stable condition and improving", and a friend said she was also talking.

Ms Payne's eight-year-old daughter Sarah was kidnapped and murdered by Roy Whiting in West Sussex in 2000.

Her friend Michele Elliott, founder and director of campaign group Kidscape, said the prognosis was now looking good.

'Huge relief'

"She wasn't able to talk over Christmas but was able to respond. Now she is able to talk again and things are improving.

"It's a huge relief but knowing the kind of person Sara is, it didn't surprise me because if somebody was going to come through something like this, it would be her.

"She wants to be there for her children and she wants to be there for her charity."

Ms Payne, from Surrey, had a life-saving operation to cure a ruptured aneurysm in 2008.

She began working to protect children from paedophiles and speaking out for victims after her daughter was murdered.

'Sarah's Law'

It emerged during the case that Whiting was a serial sex offender who had also abducted and sexually assaulted a nine-year-old girl five years before he killed Sarah Payne.

After Whiting was convicted and jailed for life she called on the government to change the law surrounding information about paedophiles.

The so-called "Sarah's Law" was partly inspired by Megan's Law in the United States, which was introduced after the rape and murder of seven-year-old Megan Kanka in 1994.

She was appointed an MBE for services to child protection in the 2008 New Year Honours List, and at the beginning of 2009 was made Victims' Champion - a 12-month post in which she was tasked with providing an independent public voice for victims of and witnesses to crime.

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