Sarah Evelyn Isobel Payne (13 October 1991 – c. 1 July 2000) was an eight-year old girl murdered by child killer Roy Whiting in West Sussex, England in July 2000. The subsequent investigation became a high profile murder case in the United Kingdom. Following his conviction, Whiting was imprisoned for life and is currently being held in the maximum security Wakefield prison, West Yorkshire
Roy William Whiting was born in Horsham hospital in West Sussex on 26 January 1959. He was one of six children, of whom only he, an older brother and younger sister survived to adulthood. He grew up in Langley Green, Crawley. When he was a child, he was abused by a close relative. He attended Jordan's primary school, then Ifield secondary school. His mother left home with his sister in 1976, and remarried. In June 1986 he married Linda Booker in Ifield, West Sussex. They separated; their son was born in Crawley hospital in July 1987; they divorced in 1990.
Whiting was involved in banger racing during the late 1980s, but abandoned his interest in the sport due to a lack of success.
Sarah Payne's disappearance
Sarah Payne disappeared on 1 July 2000 from a cornfield near the home of her paternal grandparents, Terence and Lesley Payne, in Kingston Gorse, West Sussex, England. Payne had been playing with her brothers and sister; aged between five and 13 at the time. A nationwide search commenced within 48 hours, and Payne's parents made television appeals for her safe return. On 2 July 2000, officers from Sussex Police visited Whiting making inquiries into Payne's disappearance.
On 17 July, a body was found in a field near Pulborough, some 24 km (15 mi) from Kingston Gorse where she had disappeared. The following day, forensic science tests confirmed that the body was Payne's, and Sussex Police began a murder investigation.