Michael Payne death: Father of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne found dead at his home

Tributes have been paid to Michael Payne, who has died at the age of 45

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The Independent Online

The father of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne has been found dead at his home in Kent.

Tributes have been paid to Michael Payne, 45, who is reported to have developed a drink problem after his daughter was abducted and killed in 2000.

His daughter Charlotte posted a picture of her father on Facebook, alongside a message which said she was "heartbroken."

She wrote: "No matter what happened and how many mistakes we all made. You will always be my daddy."

Her brother Lee wrote: "Dad, you had your demons and troubles but you had a good heart and was a decent man... you will be missed. We are all heartbroken."

Police have said they discovered the body of a man at a property in Maidstone on Monday.

Sarah Payne was murdered and abducted in 2000 (PA)

A Kent police spokesman said: "The death is not being treated as suspicious. A report will be prepared for the coroner."

Sarah Payne's killer Roy Whiting was convicted to life in prison after he was found guilty of her murder in December 2001.

Speaking after Whiting's jail term was reduced in 2010, Michael Payne said the decision to cut the sentence from 50 years to 40 before becoming eligible for parole was "outrageous".

Michael and Sara Payne present a petition to Jack Straw in 2000 (PA)

"He didn't deserve a reduction but he won't be coming out," he said."


Mr Payne and his wife Sara split in 2003 after 18 years together. Both blamed the difficulties of coping with the tragic loss of their daughter.

He was jailed three years ago after pleading guilty to glassing his brother Stephen following a heavy drinking session.

Sentencing him, Judge Jeremy Carey said he had the "deepest sympathy" for the loss of his daughter but a jail sentence was still warranted for the offence.

Additional reporting by Press Association