‘Sarah’s Law’ was a groundbreaking moment in legal history, marking a huge step towards protecting children from sex offenders.
The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme was rolled out across all police forces across England and Wales in Spring 2011 and allowed parents to ask police if someone with access to their son or daughter has been convicted or suspected of child abuse.
But sadly, this development came at a price – the life of eight-year-old Sarah Payne, who died at the hands of pedophile Roy Whiting. The case sparked outrage across the nation when it was disclosed that Whiting had previously been convicted for a similar crime. In 1995 he abducted and sexually assaulted an eight-year-old girl. After admitting charges of abduction and indecent assault, he was sentenced to four years in prison.
Tonight, Sarah Payne: A Mother’s Story, will air on Channel 5 and give new insights into the case. In the documentary, Sarah’s family talk candidly about the tragedy.
Luke Payne Luke, who was 12 at the time, said the thought he could have saved her “eats you up inside”.
“I don’t get a lot of sleep,” he continued. “I dread the night, because it’s just you and your thoughts.
Luke added that when he sees Sarah’s friends now: “I always wonder where she would be… what she would be doing… whatever she would have been doing, she would have shined.”
Sarah was playing hide and seek with her brothers in a cornfield near her grand parents house in 2000. After the brothers realised Sarah was missing, they saw a white van speeding off, which they chased after. Sarah’s brother Lee recalls:
Sarah was missing for 17 days before her body her body was found in a field near Oulborough, around 15 miles from where she disappeared in Kingston Gorse.
This documentary will focus heavily on Sarah’s mother, Sara, who campaigned tirelessly to fight for ‘Sarah’s Law’ to become a reality.
Sara recalls the last words she said to her daughter in the programme: “I told her ‘Be good, do as your brothers say. Stay close.’
“And then I turned and walked off towards the village.”
Sarah Payne: A Mother’s Story airs on Channel 5 tonight, Wednesday June 19 at 9pm.