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Father of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne found dead at his home

Michael Payne has struggled with alcoholism since his daughter’s death.

Michael Payne with his then wife Sara pictured in 2002.
Michael Payne with his then wife Sara pictured in 2002.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE FATHER OF murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne has been found dead at his home in the UK. Michael Payne, 45, had suffered from alcoholism and depression since the abduction and murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne in 2000.

Payne and his wife Sara became national figures during the hunt for their daughter and the pair subsequently campaigned successfully for the introduction of ‘Sarah’s Law’ which gave parents the right to know if a paedophile was living in their area.

Convicted sex offender Roy Whiting was found guilty of Sarah Payne’s murder.

Michael Payne developed a drink problem following the death of his daughter and subsequent separation from his wife. In 2011, he was sentenced to 16 months in jail for attacking his brother. Payne admitted the attack saying that both he had his brother had been drinking heavily prior to the incident.

BBC News reported at the time that Payne’s defence counsel outlined to the court the toll the death of his daughter had taken on him:

The assorted aftermath had a life-changing effect on him and his then wife and his family. It’s desperately sad. He never sought nor was offered assistance with bereavement counselling.

Following his death, a number of Payne’s children have written messages in his memory.

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Read: News of the World targeted phone given to Sara Payne as a gift >

Read: A Sarah’s Law for Ireland: Dáil to discuss child sex offenders bill >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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