Roy Whiting has jail term reduced

Schoolgirl Sarah Payne's murderer Roy Whiting had his 50-year minimum jail term reduced by 10 years by a High Court judge today.

Paedophile Whiting, 51, was not present to hear Mr Justice Simon, sitting in London, announce his decision on the number of years he must spend behind bars before he can apply for parole.

But the child's mother, Sara, was present in the packed courtroom for the proceedings.

Whiting was jailed for life in 2001 for the kidnap and murder of eight-year-old Sarah, at Kingston Gorse, near Littlehampton

In 2002 the 50-year tariff - the least he must serve before becoming eligible to apply for parole - was set by the then-home secretary David Blunkett.

The judge said today he had concluded that the ``appropriate'' minimum term was a period of 40 years.

Mother, Sara Payne said it made her ``really mad'' that prisoners continued to have ``legally-aided fights'' and she wanted to see as much access to legal aid for victims as for prisoners.

``What we would like to see is a much more fair system where victims can have as much access to legal aid as prisoners,'' she told Lorraine Kelly on GMTV.

``Obviously, it is law firms, lawyers, that go round and tell prisoners 'did you know you could be fighting on this, or this, or this?' and of course prisoners want to buck the system as much as they can. If you have got nothing else to do but sit in a prison cell, then you are going to do whatever you can to get out.''

In her GMTV interview, the former Victims' Champion said she would continue to campaign for victims' rights. She said her campaigning work had helped prevent her from falling into a ``black hole'' of grief. She said the 10th anniversary of her daughter's murder this July would be ``awful'' but her birthday in October was worse.

``Her birthday is worse for me. The other day is her death day, her birthday is really worse.''

Mrs Payne, who was critically ill last year and underwent brain surgery, said she was now ``OK'' - but added that she had now ``not got'' a left side of her body. She is now a grandmother and said her murdered daughter would have made a
``wonderful'' aunt and a ``lovely'' older sister to her six-year-old daughter Ellie.

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