Who is Sara Payne? Murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne’s mother who campaigned for law change after daughter’s death


SARAH Payne was abducted and killed by paedophile Roy Whiting, and her mum Sara has fought for justice ever since.

Ahead of Thursday’s ITV documentary about the horrific murder, we take a look at what exactly happened that day.

Sara Payne, a mum-of-four, lost her daughter Sarah, who was just eight years old
Sara Payne, a mum-of-four, lost her daughter Sarah, who was just eight years old

Who is Sara Payne?

Sara, 50, was born in Surrey in March 1969 and married Michael Payne in August 1990.

The pair split in January 2003, blaming the strain of ­coping with the murder of their daughter.

She has four children; Lee, Luke and Charlotte, and also had another daughter, Ellie, in 2003 – who was born just months after she split from Michael.

After Sarah’s death Sara campaigned for “Sarah’s Law”, which would require the police to make information about local sex offenders available to the public.

Murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne went missing in 2000 while playing hide and seek with her siblings
PA:Press Association

The killer already had a conviction for abducting and indecently assaulting an eight-year-old girl.

In 2008 Sara was awarded an MBE and in 2012 she was granted an Honorary Doctorate by the Open University.

She has also published two books about her daughter and the effect the tragedy had on her family.

Years of stress and campaigning resulted in her suffering two aneurysms. The last, in 2009, left her in a coma, with doctors telling family it was unlikely she would survive.

In 2014 the family was dealt another blow when Michael, whose despair had driven him to drinking, was found dead at his home.

PA:Press Association

Mum and dad, Michael and Sara, with Lee, Luke and Charlotte five months after crime[/caption]

What happened to Sarah Payne and when did she disappear?

Sarah Evelyn Isobel Payne was eight-years-old when she was abducted and murdered as she played hide and seek with her brothers in a cornfield near her grandparent’s home in July 2000.

After 17 days of searching her body was found in a field near Oulborough, around 15 miles from where she disappeared in Kingston Gorse.

Sarah’s brother Lee — now 30 and a father of one — was 13 when he ran to look for Sarah and saw killer Roy Whiting’s van speeding off.

Her other brother Luke, 12, and sister Charlotte, six, had already run to their grandparents’ house.

Paedophile Whiting, 57, is serving 40 years for his crimes.

Roy Whiting was convicted of murdering schoolgirl Sarah Payne
PA:Press Association

What is Sarah’s Law?

The child sex offender disclosure scheme in England and Wales (also sometimes known as “Sarah’s Law”), allows anyone to formally ask the police if someone with access to a child has a record for child sexual offences.

Police will reveal details confidentially to the person most able to protect the child (usually parents, carers or guardians) if they think it is in the child’s interests.

Following Sarah’s death, the News of the World, supported by Sarah’s parents, launched a campaign calling for a UK version of what is known as “Megan’s Law” in the United States.

The scheme was piloted in four police areas in in 2008 and in August 2010 the Home Office announced that it would be rolled out across all 43 police areas in England and Wales.

  • Sarah Payne: The Untold Story airs on ITV 1 at 9pm on July 4

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