1995, an eight-year-old girl (unnamed for legal
reasons) was abducted and sexually assaulted in Langley
Green. Roy Whiting was arrested a few weeks later after
a man who knew Whiting came forward after hearing that
the abductor's car had been a red Ford Sierra, which
matched the description of the car that Whiting had just
June 1995,, Whiting admitted to the charges of
abduction and indecent assault, and was sentenced to
four years in prison.
November 1997, Whiting was released from prison
having served 2 years and 5 months of his 4 year
sentence, and was one of the first people in Britain to
go on the sex offenders' register.
Once released, Whiting moved 25 miles away from his
previous home in Crawley to Littlehampton on the West
1st July 2000 The Payne family went to visit
Sarah's grandparents at Kingston Gorse on the South Coast.
After walking on the beach, Sarah went with her sister and
two brothers to play in a cornfield.
They chased each other in a game of hide and seek, until
Sarah got a knock on the head and decided to walk back to
her grandparents' home. She disappeared through a
gap in the hedge. Her brothers Lee and Luke followed, only
seconds behind. But by the time they reached the lane,
Sarah had disappeared.
Lee saw a white van coming down the road towards him, its
wheels spinning. The driver seemed in a hurry to get away.
As he drove past, he grinned and waved at Lee, who later
described him as scruffy, with yellowish teeth.
Unknown to the boys, the man behind the wheel had just
abducted Sarah. It was the last time that anyone other
than the killer saw her alive.
17th July 2000
A farm labourer found a girl's body in a field near
Pulborough, 15 miles from the village of Kingston
Gorse (near Littlehampton) where Sarah had disappeared.
The following day, forensic science tests confirmed that
the body was Sarah's, and the Sussex Police began a murder
As the search turned into a murder hunt, suspicion quickly
fell on Roy Whiting, a local man and a known paedophile.
He had already served a four-year prison sentence for
abducting a nine-year-old girl. And he had a white van.
When questioned by police about Sarah's disappearance, he
said he did not know where she was, and claimed he had
been at a funfair in Hove.
7th February 2001
Roy Whiting is remanded in custody after being formally
charged with the kidnapping and murder of Sarah Payne.
Heavy police security is needed as a crowd of more than
200 people besiege the courtroom.
14th November 2001
Trial begins at Lewes crown
court in Sussex.
The jury heard from many
witnesses, including Sarah's brother Lee, who had seen the
van. The case used a huge amount of forensic evidence,
many experts from several area were used.
It was estimated that the
cost of the investigation involved a thousand personnel
and cost more than £2 million.
12 December 2001 - The verdict
Roy Whiting sentenced to life for the murder and
kidnapping of eight-year-old Sarah Payne The
jury of nine men and three women at Lewes Crown Court
delivered a unanimous decision after a trial lasting four
weeks. The judge recommended that Whiting never be released from prison.
17th December 2001
There's been criticism of Judge John Gower who sentenced
Roy Whiting to four years in prison on a previous occasion
when he abducted a young girl. Whiting served just two and
a half years in prison before being released and
subsequently murdering Sarah Payne.
4th August 2002,
Whiting was attacked with a razor by another prisoner at
Wakefield Prison. Convicted killer Rickie Tregaskis was
found guilty of carrying out the slashing which left
Whiting with a six-inch scar on his right cheek.
24th November 2002,
Home Secretary David Blunkett made a landmark ruling,
ordering that Roy Whiting must serve a minimum of 50 years
in prison. This would make him ineligible for parole until
2051, when he would be 92 years old.
Whiting applied to the Court of Appeal for a new minimum
term to be set.
9th June 2010,
Whiting' appeal resulted in his 50 year jail term being
reduced by 10 years to 40 years by a High Court judge.
Whiting was attacked in prison again, this time by twice
Whiting in the eye with a sharpened end of a toilet brush
Whiting did not
press charges, and therefore there was no police investigation
into the assault. Whiting's injuries were not life