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EDITIONS
Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 10:12 GMT
Blair's sympathy message for Paynes
Sara Payne
Sarah's mother wants action by the government
Tony Blair's official spokesman has sent his "deepest sympathy" to the parents and family of Sarah Payne.

The message came shortly after Roy Whiting was convicted for the abduction and murder of the 8-year-old.


People are being let out of prison when everybody concerned knows that this is going to happen again

Sara Payne
The spokesman said: "The death of any child, particularly in these circumstances, is an absolute tragedy."

Home Office Minister Beverley Hughes promised that lessons would be learned from the case.

She said the government had already acted to limit the dangers posed by paedophiles like Whiting and more would be done.

Ms Hughes said: "I want to extend my deepest sympathy to the parents and family of Sarah Payne.

"The death of a child in such circumstances is an appalling tragedy, which must be almost impossible to bear."

She said that protecting children was the "highest priority" for the government adding "we have already acted to build on and improve arrangements for protecting the public from dangerous offenders".

"However, we will be studying the details of this case very carefully to make sure that we learn from it ways of improving these arrangements still further."

Beverley Hughes
Ms Hughes said the government was looking at the case

Speaking after Whiting, a convicted paedophile, was sentenced to life in jail, Sarah's mother Sara Payne gave her reaction to the jury's verdicts.

She said: "This doesn't make us happy, but justice has been done. Sarah can rest in peace now.

"Let's make sure that this stops happening time and time again.

"People are being let out of prison when everybody concerned knows that this is going to happen again.

"Why should it be on policemen's shoulders? This is down to the government."

Sex offenders already face tougher measures implemented since Sarah's death in July 2000.

Under the Criminal Justices and Court Services Act, which came into force in June 2001, provides for:

  • Sex offender orders restricting the activities of known sex offenders if the police believe they pose a serious risk.

  • A new restraining order, which is similar to sex offender orders, that can be imposed when courts are sentencing dangerous offenders.

    A Home Office spokesman said that sentencing for sexual and violent offenders was also under review.

  • Full coverage of the trial

    The verdict

    Catching a murderer

    Protecting children

    TALKING POINT

    AUDIO VIDEO

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