Trust denies it moved Payne family to 'paedophile haven'

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The Independent Online

A housing trust accused of moving the family of the murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne to an area which is "a haven for sex offenders" has, it says, rehoused the family just half a mile from their previous home.

A housing trust accused of moving the family of the murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne to an area which is "a haven for sex offenders" has, it says, rehoused the family just half a mile from their previous home.

Mike and Sara Payne, who will ask the Tory party conference tomorrow to support their campaign for greater public access to information about sex offenders, said they were shocked by reports there were up to six paedophiles living near their new house.

But Elmbridge Housing Trust said the police had confirmed to them there were no paedophiles in the vicinity. "We wanted to do the best we could to check out the situation," the trust's chief executive, Peter Morton, said.

The trust gave the family a three-bedroom house in Hersham, Surrey, half a mile from their previous home. Several Sunday newspapers have claimed that a number of known paedophiles live nearby. However, some which have been declared "a short walk away" are in different towns several miles from the family.

The Paynes, who have three other children, asked the trust to rehouse them as they could not return to the family home. Sarah, 8, was abducted from a field near her grandparents' West Sussex home on 1 July. Her naked body was found 15 miles away two weeks later.

Yesterday, the couple said the rehousing was insensitive. Mrs Payne said: "I was told by the council that they had checked the Sex Offenders Register before moving us here. It is very frightening and worrying, but I would rather know where they are and how they are being handled by the authorities."

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