Suspect in Sarah Payne case is jailed

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The Independent Online

A man who was arrested twice in connection with the Sarah Payne murder inquiry was jailed for 22 months yesterday for unrelated motoring offences.

A man who was arrested twice in connection with the Sarah Payne murder inquiry was jailed for 22 months yesterday for unrelated motoring offences.

Roy Whiting, 41, admitted one charge of dangerous driving and one charge of taking a vehicle without consent.

Iain Morley, for the defence, told Chichester Crown Court that Whiting's life was "ripped apart" when he was arrested in July in connection with the schoolgirl's disappearance.

The two motoring charges date to 23 July, after Whiting, of no fixed address, was released by murder squad detectives.

The Sarah Payne murder hunt was not mentioned directly in court but Mr Morleysaid Whiting's life had been turned "upside down" by a serious police inquiry which had left him homeless. He said the former mechanic took the car, a Vauxhall Nova, to put a roof over his head but panicked and drove dangerously when police began following him.

Sarah, aged eight, disappeared on 1 July.

Whiting was arrested on 2 July and released without charge days later. He was rearrested in connection with Sarah's murder on 31 July after his first appearance before magistrates on the motoring charges, and was released the next day on police bail.

He was not charged over Sarah's murder.

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