Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

DID YOU KILL SARAH? NO; Court Drama as Accused Man Answers Question for the First Time

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

DID YOU KILL SARAH? NO; Court Drama as Accused Man Answers Question for the First Time

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL CHESTON;PATRICK MCGOWAN

THE MAN accused of kidnapping and killing Sarah Payne was asked pointblank in the witness box today if he committed the murder - and for the first time in public directly answered: No.

Roy Whiting today faced the jury and said: "Judge me on what I have said - I have nothing to hide and I am telling the truth."

He was asked by his counsel, Sally O'Neill QC: "You are charged with the kidnap and murder of Sarah Payne, have you in any shape or form been associated with that young girl?" Whiting's one-word reply: "No."

Miss O'Neill: "Did you have anything to do with her disappearance and subsequent death?" Whiting: "No."

He acknowledged he had refused to answer police questions on three separate occasions and had sprung new evidence on the court by admitting for the first time he pressure-cleaned the inside of his white van the day after Sarah disappeared.

When police knocked on his door 24 hours after Sarah disappeared he had given them a false account of his movements on the previous day because he had been "badgered

and harassed". Whiting, 42, who denies murder and abduction, sat with his knees up and feet resting on a ledge in the witness box. Sarah's father Michael watched from the public gallery with his arm tightly around his wife Sara.

Whiting was accused by Timothy Langdale QC, prosecuting, of telling "plain lies", having no answer to the police allegations and inventing a story of his mind going blank.

Whiting had told the court he refused to answer police questions at formal interviews after his three arrests on the advice of his solicitor. Mr Langdale said: "The reason you were not answering any questions is that you didn't have any reasonable answers."

Whiting denied that a bottle of baby oil found in his van

by police had been kept there for sexual activity.

He claimed he had bought the bottle as a lotion for dried and cut hands he suffered as a builder.

He agreed it must have been "just a coincidence" that it remained in the van suspected to have been the vehicle in which Sarah was abducted.

Whiting also agreed that it was "just a coincidence" that he had been working in Golden Avenue, East Preston, overlooking the fields in which Sarah had been playing with her brothers and sister before her disappearance and had exercised a dog in the area "without having the slightestclue" that children used the field as a playground. …

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