Sarah Payne: Mum’s heartbreaking tribute to murdered daughter on birthday

Sarah Payne: Mum’s heartbreaking tribute to murdered daughter on birthday

 

Sarah Payne’s mum has paid a heartbreaking tribute to the murdered schoolgirl on what would have been her 29th birthday.

Mum Sara Payne marked her daughter’s birthday on Tuesday with a visit to her grave, which was decorated with flowers, a statue of an angel and a small teddy bear.

Ms Payne shared a photo with her 10,000 followers on Twitter, writing: “Happy Birthday Princess xxxx.”

Sarah was just eight-years-old when paedophile Roy Whiting abducted her while she was out playing with her siblings near her grandfather’s home in Kingston Gorse, West Sussex, on July 1, 2000.

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Sarah, from Hersham, Surrey, was grabbed as she walked back to the home along a country road after playing hide and seek in a cornfield.

The search ended in heartbreak when the youngster’s body was found 16 days later in a field near Pulborough, about 15 miles away from where she was last seen.

Grief-stricken Ms Payne, 51, became a leading advocate for child protection and worked endlessly to campaign for and bring in Sarah’s Law, formally known as the Child Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme.

She was awarded an MBE by the Queen for her victim advocacy and child protection work.

She wrote a book, called A Mother’s Story, about her life and her daughter’s death, and co-founded Phoenix Chief Advocates to help those victimised by paedophile crimes, challenge the institutional anti-victim prejudice, and help people with PTSD.

Sarah’s father Michael, 45, died of natural causes at his home in Maidstone, Kent, in October 2014.

Last year, Ms Payne made a ‘final’ visit to the spot where her daughter was abducted, saying she wanted to “exorcise ghosts”, for an ITV documentary called Sarah Payne: The Untold Story.

Sara said it would probably be the last time she visits the location.

The mum told the programme: “If I close my eyes I can see her and I can hear her and see her running around just shouting.

“The last thing I remember is Sarah just waving and she was like ‘go, go, go… we’ll see you at home’.”

She told the Mirror in July 2019: “It didn’t matter who was with (Sarah) that day, there was no chance of saving her. He did what he did, and he was going to do what he did, no matter what.”

Whiting, now 61, lived in a seafront flat in Littlehampton, about five miles from the lane where he kidnapped Sarah.

He became a suspect early in the investigation and in February 2001 was charged with kidnapping and murdering the schoolgirl.

He was convicted in December 2001 by a jury at Lewes Crown Court, and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 40 years.

He will be 82 when he is eligible for parole.

On Wednesday, it emerged that Whiting was stabbed and nearly killed when he was attacked by two fellow inmates in his prison cell at HMP Wakefield, West Yorkshire, on November 8, 2018.

Convicted murderers Richard Prendergast and Kevin Hyden, both 40, stormed into the cell screaming “you f***ing nonce” and “stab him, get him in the neck”.

Prendergast had two pieces of wood with a 6.7cm screw sticking out between them, and Hyden also used a screw to attack Whiting.

The attack lasted for about a minute until baton-wielding prison officers arrived.

Whiting suffered puncture wounds all over his head, neck and upper body, and wasn’t breathing as he lay in a pool of blood.

A nurse saved his life by inserting a plastic tube to give him an airway, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Category A prisoners Prendergast and Hyden, who admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent earlier, were both jailed for an additional seven-and-a-half years each.

Whiting has been attacked multiple times while serving his life sentence, and told how he is used to being called “nonce, paedophile and baby killer” by inmates at HMP Wakefield.

The prison is known as ‘Monster Mansion’ because it holds so many murderers and high-risk paedophiles.

His attackers, Prendergast and Hyden, are both in prison for murder.

Prendergast fatally stabbed Lee Moody, 44, in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, in June 2018 after he mistakenly believed Mr Moody had stolen his mobile phone.

The killer admitted murder at Nottingham Crown Court and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 19 years.

Hyden was given a life sentence with a minimum term of at least 32 years for brutally murdering Davinia Loynton, 59, at a flat in Wellington, Shropshire in September 2014.

A post-mortem examination found she died as a result of head injuries and a stab wound to her neck.

Police said Hyden broke into Ms Loynton’s flat before attacking her and stealing her bank cards.

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