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10 years after her murder, Sarah Payne's family pay tender tribute

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10 years after her murder, Sarah Payne's family pay tender tribute

Post by jackf on Sun Jun 27, 2010 1:51 pm


'With all she has achieved in death, God knows what she could have achieved in her life'

10 years after her murder, Sarah Payne's family pay tender tribute

By Dominic Herbert, 27/06/2010

IT'S 10 years almost to the day... a span considerably longer than poor little Sarah Payne was allowed to spend on this earth.

But the vile murder that repulsed a nation - and would ultimately change its laws forever - is as vivid as yesterday for her brave mum Sara.

And last night she vowed NEVER to quit her historic crusade for a full Sarah's Law.

Sara Payne talks ten years after her daughter Sarah was murdered
Inspired by the tragedy of her eight-year-old daughter, Sara's valiant campaign - backed by the News of the World from day one - has already secured FOURTEEN pieces of ground-breaking legislation to protect youngsters from predatory paedophiles.

But she won't rest until the complete Sarah's Law package is in place.

NEVER SEEN BEFORE: New picture of Sarah, taken when she was seven, released today
In an exclusive interview mum-of-five Sara movingly told how her tragic daughter has been the driving force.

Recalling that family day on a Sussex beach when young Sarah went to play in a nearby cornfield and was snatched by killer pervert Roy Whiting, she said: "Sarah's legacy is that she told the world just what these people do.

"With all that she has achieved in death, God knows what she could have achieved in her lifetime. I wish she'd had that chance.

For our full list of Sarah's Law victories click here

"My family lost so much that day. Sarah would have been 18 now, coming up to her 19th birthday. She might have been thinking about having her own family, with a partner in a long-term relationship and at college.

"I do think about these things. One of the reasons we made her funeral so grand with the horses and glass carriage was that we knew we wouldn't be able to give her a wedding.

"It was the final thing we could do for her. Every little girl gets to be a princess once in her life."

Sarah's family were distraught when her naked body was found buried in a shallow grave.

Six Home Secretaries pay homage to battling Sara Payne - click here to read their tributes

But it was the shock revelation that her killer had already been convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting another nine-year-old girl in the county five years earlier that fired mum Sara into joining with us to launch the determined For Sarah campaign - demanding parents be given controlled access to information about sex offenders living in their neighbourhood.

But Sara, 41, faced a storm of criticism from politicians, charities and probation officers who claimed it would spark vigilante attacks and drive perverts underground. Despite all that pressure, other family tragedies and health problems, she remains committed to her mission.

As Thursday's 10th anniversary approaches Sara insists vibrant memories of Sarah give her the strength to continue.

And she paid tribute to the unfailing support of sons Lee, 23, Luke, 21, and daughters Charlotte, 15, and Ellie, six.

Sara said: "I'm so proud of my children and the way they've been able to grow into mature children and young adults despite all that's happened to this family.

"They've provided me with the stability and normality I need to keep going and this makes me so proud. They're wonderful children.

"Sarah would have been so proud to see how this family has grown and how her brothers and sisters have looked after me over the years. And of course she'd have been delighted by the new additions to the family, Ellie and the grandchildren.

"It's the family unit which has got me through the 10 years.

"There have been times when I wanted to stop but then something will happen, a politician will ask for my opinion on something or I'll read about a court case. Then you realise you CAN change things."

INTO BATTLE: Sara with Lee, Michael, Charlotte & Luke in 2001
This week's jailing of paedophile Joe McColghan, 68, in Exmouth, Devon, is just the latest scandal to grip Sara. Unknown to neighbours he had fled to the seaside town from Ireland - settling 100 yards from a primary school - after serving just nine years for a string of rapes on his own children.

McColghan's dark past as "the Beast of Sligo" was only uncovered when he was arrested here and jailed for 30 months on 18 counts of making indecent images of children.

Determined Sara told us: "This case is why we do what we do. It's a great big sign saying, 'This is what happens!'

"Sex offenders DON'T report when they should do, they DON'T want to be watched, they DON'T want to be monitored.

"If he's making friends with the children of parents in the neighbourhood he could be grooming them by becoming a familiar face. He's then no longer a stranger and that becomes a worry.

"The police can't watch these people 24 hours a day, but it should be a duty of the authorities to disclose when someone like him moves in next door, especially if there are young families."

Sara, now separated from husband Michael, admitted the 10-year crusade has taken its toll. "I've had a lot of personal tragedy," she said. "I lost my mother, my dad, my brother. The whole family have at times wanted to walk away from the public spotlight but then you see people's attitudes changing and things happening. The worst point was the ninth anniversary last year and Sarah had been dead longer than she'd been alive. That was the worst feeling ever.

"There are moments when the memories of Sarah are very clear, almost like photographs in my mind. I love it when my mind will drift and I hear her laughing in the back of my head. They are things that I hang on to, that laugh, the smile when she was doing something naughty. That cheeky, 'Am I going to get away with it or not?' smile. She was very good at that.

"Sometimes people forget Sarah was a real person and a big part of the family. For a lot of people she's a picture, an iconic picture that's become the symbol of the campaign and of innocence."

Sara's determination to succeed is etched on her face. That and her composed, softly-spoken manner have proved powerful campaigning tools. And it was Sara's methodical research into the justice system, the monitoring of sex offenders and their behaviour that impressed a series of Home Secretaries and convinced them to change the law.

Yet Sara, awarded an MBE and last year appointed Victims' Champion by the Government, modestly puts her success down to a common sense attitude.

She said: "Many critics said I did it out of grief. But what drove me was being so incensed that Whiting had done it before. He was given a second chance and Sarah paid the price for that experiment. I was angry about the system I'd always trusted to keep my children safe.

"When we started our campaign we were told it would never succeed. We were told Sarah's Law would spark vigilantes and force paedophiles underground, but that's not true, they don't operate in the open anyway. They don't stick signs around them saying, 'I am a paedophile, help me stop.'

"And we don't live in a country that's vigilante-based. Yes we're angry but anger is appropriate. Vigilantism has never been the way and I couldn't have feelings like that because it wasn't in Sarah's nature to act or behave in that way. Shouting doesn't achieve anything. I remember when there were all the problems in Bosnia she came home, sorted out her toy box and gave every single thing to the children there. She was set in that way that eight-year-olds get.

"That's always crafted the way we work because if we're going to use Sarah's picture as our banner we must do things her way. And that's not the vigilante way.

"At the time it looked like nothing would change, but we campaigned hard, over a million signed the petition and put on their badges. Many still wear them."

Sara, who is recovering from a massive stroke after suffering bleeding on the brain, has worked tirelessly for the cause, and also helped set up the Phoenix Foundation - with sister Fiona, 36, and fellow crusader Shy Keenan - to support victims of abuse. Their work is chronicled in Sara and Shy's book Where Angels Fear.

And the fight for Sarah's Law goes on. As she released a previously unseen photo of her murdered daughter, taken when she was seven, Sara vowed: "I'll keep going for my children, grandchildren, future generations and for Sarah.

"I walked away from her on the beach that day but I will never walk away from her again."


Jul 23, 2000 Fight begins
SARAH'S Law calls for a range of measures to curb paedophiles - and at its heart is the demand that parents have a controlled right to information about predatory child sex offenders in their area.

Since the launch of our campaign in July 2000, 14 pieces of legislation have been introduced.

1. Offenders stopped from living near victims.

2. Restrictions on them contacting victims.

3. Counselling and therapy for victims.

4. Victims' families to be told the length of time the offender will serve.

5. Lengthy sentences or even life for offenders. Indeterminate sentences in appropriate cases.

6. Beefing up of Multi Agency Protection Panels to monitor paedophiles.

7. Offenders must register within 72 hours of release from jail.

8. Penalty for failing to comply with the register increased from six months to five years' jail.

9. Registration to be in person at designated police stations.

10. Offenders must have photo taken for ID.

11. Re-registration of offenders at pre-determined intervals.

12. Offenders must notify police of foreign travel.

13. Offenders to be assessed for risk to children before sentencing.

14. Up to ten years of community supervision and police surveillance added to a prison sentence.

But the campaign goes on for the full introduction of Sarah's Law - controlled access to information about paedophiles in your area.


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Re: 10 years after her murder, Sarah Payne's family pay tender tribute

Post by vee8 on Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:39 pm

I cannot fully find the words to express my admiration for this woman, nor fully convey my sorrow at the loss that has spurred her on. A truly wonderful and remarkable woman.

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Re: 10 years after her murder, Sarah Payne's family pay tender tribute

Post by Rosie on Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:08 pm

Sara has my utmost respect and admiration for what she has achieved and what she is attempting to achieve, despite the obvious toll this terrible tragedy has had on her, her former husband and their families. Despite incredible odds stacked against her and at a time when she must have felt emotionally battered, Sara has achieved so much and she remains so positive.

I am just not sure how Sara manages to do this and how she manages to keep on doing what she does, but I am so glad she does.

Thank you Sara, and thank you for sharing your precious daughter Sarah with us, undeniably, for the benefit of children everywhere in this country.

no way
Goncalo Amaral Your Time Is Nearly Up!


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Re: 10 years after her murder, Sarah Payne's family pay tender tribute

Post by Catkins on Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:53 am

So very sad.............Sarah seems to be a very strong lady...good on her for not giving up and staying true to herself and her beautiful little daughter
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