Second post mortem for murdered Sarah

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The Independent Online

A second post mortem examination of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne's body was held today in a bid to discover how she was killed.

A second post mortem examination of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne's body was held today in a bid to discover how she was killed.

Detectives investigating the abduction and murder of the eight-year-old have so far been unable to find an exact cause of death but believe she may have been suffocated or strangled.

A first post mortem proved inconclusive and a second examination was carried out this afternoon at Worthing Hospital, West Sussex, by independent Home Office pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd.

A spokesman for Sussex police said results from the examination were unlikely to be available for several days.

"Like the first one, it will take three to four days to come through and that is only if something substantially different is found," said the spokesman.

"The necessary paperwork will then make its way through to the coroner," he added.

The pathologist has been appointed by West Sussex Coroner Roger Stone and it was hoped Sarah's body would be released to her family following today's post mortem, said police.

Sarah went missing from a country lane near her grandparents' home at Kingston Gorse, near East Preston, on July 1.

She had been playing with her brothers Lee, 13, and Luke, 11, and her sister Charlotte, aged six, after a family day out on the beach.

Her body was found by a farmhand in a field off the main A29 trunk road near Pulborough, West Sussex, on July 17.

Her parents, Michael and Sara, both 31 and from Hersham, Surrey, were expected to attend a public memorial service for Sarah at Guildford Cathedral on Saturday.

Detectives have twice arrested and questioned the same man in connection with the blonde-haired youngster's murder.

Roy Whiting, 41, from Littlehampton, is currently remanded in custody on unrelated charges.

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