Sarah Payne brothers: ‘Thoughts of saving her eat us up’

The brothers of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne have spoken for the first time of their guilt in not being able to save her.

The eight-year-old was abducted and murdered by paedophile Roy Whiting in 2000.

Speaking to Channel 5, Luke and Lee Payne said she ran ahead of them before being snatched by Whiting.

Lee said: “I did for a few years beat myself up …. that if I ran faster … I might have caught up with her”.

Luke and Lee said Sarah ran from them and sister Charlotte to a road on the edge of a field while on a day out in Kingston Gorse, West Sussex.

She was not seen alive again and the brothers remember Whiting smiling at them as he drove her away.

Luke, who was then 12 at the time, said the thought he could have saved her “eats you up inside”.

He said he is haunted by what happened: “I don’t get a lot of sleep. I dread the night, because it’s just you and your thoughts.”

His late father, Michael, bought a sawn-off shotgun and talked to him about what he would do if Whiting was found not guilty.

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.”

Lee, who was then 13, remembers seeing Whiting drive past the field in his van looking “dodgy” – smiling and waving at him seconds after the abduction.

Lee said he was “literally 30 seconds behind her” but initially thought she was hiding.

He said he would never get over the loss.

The family lived in Hersham, Surrey, and mother Sara Payne described seeing Whiting in court for the first time and realising he “wasn’t a monster” but a “sad, lonely person”.

Whiting was jailed for life in 2001 and will serve a minimum of 40 years.

The family spoke to Channel 5 for the documentary Sarah Payne: A Mother’s Story.

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