Trial date set over Sarah Payne killing

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The man accused of murdering eight-year-old Sarah Payne appeared in court yesterday to hear a date set for his trial.

Sarah's parents sat a few feet from Roy Whiting, who listened in silence as a judge at Lewes Crown Court was told how the case was progressing. Mr Whiting, 42, from Littlehampton, West Sussex, pleaded not guilty in May to kidnapping and murdering Sarah, who vanished while playing in fields near her grandparents' home last year. There was tight security for his fifth court appearance, at which he spoke once to confirm his name.

Sarah's parents, Sara and Mike, sat near Mr Whiting, a divorced, unemployed mechanic. The couple, both 32, from Hersham, Surrey, were dressed in black.

Judge Richard Brown said, after hearing details of how the prosecution case was developing: "I am satisfied that all matters for trial are progressing properly and the trial will commence on 13 November in this building."

Sally O'Neill, for Mr Whiting, made no application for bail and he was further remanded in custody. Mr Whiting is alleged to have abducted Sarah from Kingston Gorse, West Sussex, on 1 July last year and to have murdered her between 1 July and 3 July. He was charged in February.

Sarah disappeared while playing with her brothers Lee, 14, and Luke, 12, and her sister, Charlotte, seven, during a visit to their grandparents' home.