Siblings of murdered 8-year-old Sarah Payne speak out for the first time about their guilt over her abduction


by Emma Dodds |
Published on

Sarah Payne was abducted by a local paedophile at the age of eight in 2000 right in front of her siblings

The horrific abduction of eight-year-old Sarah Payne in 2000 sent shockwaves through the country.

What made the case even more gut-wrenching was the fact that the monster who committed the crime, Roy Whiting, had already served prison time for abducting and murdering another eight-year-old girl only five years previously.

Whiting snatched Sarah right in front of her brothers and sisters, who she had been playing with.

WATCH: Siblings of murdered 8-year-old Sarah Payne speak out for the first time about their guilt

They have now spoken about witnessing the horrific event for the first time in the 17 years since little Sarah's death.

Luke, Lee and Charlotte had all been playing hide and seek with Sarah in a field, and she had sprinted ahead of them. They watched as she ran through a gap toward a road - the last time they ever saw her.

Whiting was waiting on the other side, and he grabbed the little girl and threw her into his white van.

Now, Lee Payne, who was 13 at the time, has spoken about his guilt for the first time - and how Whiting smiled and waved at him as he drove away.

Sarah was just eight-years-old when she was snatched and killed (Credit: Rex Features) ©Rex Features

In a new Channel 5 documentary, Lee, the eldest of the four children, described how Sarah had fallen over and was "in a huff" and wanted to go home, so they were running after her.

He said: "When it comes to feeling guilt about the situation, I did for a few years beat myself up that if I ran faster I might have caught up with her. Whiting drove the other way in his van and gave me a little wave as he went."

He added that the way Whiting had smiled at him "was very uneasy, it didn't make me feel comfortable at all."

Lee also said that "there's never going to be a day when you're going to turn round and be like, 'I'm over that now'. Because that's just going to happen."

Lee, Luke and Charlotte spoke of their guilt (Credit: Channel 5/ Sarah Payne: A Mother's Story) ©Channel 5/ Sarah Payne: A Mother's Story

Luke, who was 12 at the time, was clearly still very traumatised by the horrific events.

He spoke quietly and seemed close to tears the whole time, saying that thinking about the fact that he "could have saved her, but didn't, eats you up inside."

He went on: "I don't get a lot of sleep. I dread the night, because it's just you and your thoughts.

"I always wonder where she would be, what she would be doing. Whatever she would have been doing, she would have shined.

"Sarah's Law has made her special, not just to me but to everybody in the world. Other people just see a picture and her face, but she's so much more - well, was so much more, and could have been so much more."

Sarah's parents, Sara and Michael, at the time of her disappearance (Credit: Getty Images) ©Getty Images

Sarah's younger sister Charlotte also spoke in the documentary, saying that the trauma had left her with crippling anxiety.

She said: "When something bad like that happens to someone you love, you almost feel guilty for being alive and they're not.

"What Sarah was put on this earth to achieve was to make Mum who she is today and, I think, achieve Sarah's Law. I think Sarah was special in that way. I was always told that she was very caring and loving, and I think Sarah would have wanted Mum to help other families, not just our own."

Sarah Payne; A Mother’s Story, Wednesday 19 July, 9.00pm on Channel 5.

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