Sarah: Man held by police after discovery of 'new information'

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A man was being questioned last night by detectives hunting the killer of the murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne. His arrest followed what police described as the discovery of "new information", though they declined to give details.

A man was being questioned last night by detectives hunting the killer of the murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne. His arrest followed what police described as the discovery of "new information", though they declined to give details.

The suspect, Roy Whiting, 41, who is being held at an undisclosed police station, is the man who was arrested a day after the eight-year-old vanished after playing near her grandparents' house at Kingston Gorse, near Littlehampton in West Sussex, exactly a month ago.

Mr Whiting, officially of no fixed abode, who had been arrested at an address in Littlehampton, was later released on police bail without charge.

Detective Superintendent Peter Kennet, heading the investigation, said there was fresh evidence but refused to reveal if this was forensic test results or if a new witness had come forward. "A man in his 40s, formerly from the Littlehampton area, was arrested in Crawley today and has been taken to an undisclosed police station in Sussex for further questioning by officers investigating the murder of Sarah Payne," he said yesterday. "I can confirm that this is the same man who was originally arrested on the evening of Sunday 2 July, in connection with her suspected abduction, and subsequently released."

Police have up to 36 hours to question Mr Whiting and can then apply to magistrates to hold him for a further 60 hours. He must then either be charged or released.

Sarah's naked body was found in undergrowth close to the A29 at Pulborough, more than two weeks after she went missing, 10 miles from where she was playing with her brothers and sister. The only item of Sarah's clothing to have been discovered is one of her shoes. This was found near Coolham, a further five miles away.

Police declined to comment on whether Mr Whiting would take part in an identity parade.

Thousands of flowers and toys left by people close to where Sarah's body was found have now been cleared. The memorial service for Sarah is to be held at Guildford Cathedral on 12 August, a spokesman for the family said last night.

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