Sarah Payne's killer has sentence cut

Click to follow

A decade after he murdered the schoolgirl Sarah Payne, Roy Whiting has had his sentenced reduced.

A High Court judge cut the minimum jail term imposed on the 51-year-old paedophile from 50 to 40 years yesterday, but he stressed that Whiting would remain behind bars until he no longer posed a public risk.

The eight-year-old victim's mother, Sara Payne, who walks with a stick after suffering a stroke last year, vowed to continue her campaign to protect Britain's children.

Mrs Payne, who was awarded the MBE for services to child protection in 2008, said the family was disappointed but undeterred.

"There are many people who suffer strokes and never walk again so I'm one of the lucky ones really. It takes a lot of hard work," she said, adding: "As long as sex offenders walk the streets, I will always be there. I just put one foot in front of the other and hope the other one follows – quite literally these days."

With the 10th anniversary of his daughter's disappearance approaching in three weeks, Sarah's father, Michael Payne, said the lowering of Whiting's sentence was "outrageous", adding: "He didn't deserve a reduction but he won't be coming out."

Whiting, who was jailed for life in 2001 for kidnapping and murdering Sarah in West Sussex, had argued that his minimum term, set by David Blunkett, the Home Secretary at the time, should be reduced from 50 years to 28 years.

In his written ruling, Mr Justice Simon said a victim impact statement from Sarah's mother had "movingly" described "the devastating effect on her family of Sarah's abduction and murder".

The judge emphasised that Whiting's sentence remained life imprisonment and he would be detained "until the Parole Board is satisfied he no longer presents a risk to the public".

In setting the new minimum term, Mr Justice Simon said that, under the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, he had to consider the seriousness of the offence, together with any findings made by the trial judge, who recommended Whiting should never be released, and by the Lord Chief Justice of the time, who recommended a tariff of 28 years.

The judge stressed: "The applicant may not even be considered for release until he has served at least 40 years, less 234 days. That is not to say that he will then be released."