Sarah Payne's family today relived the last moments of their daughter's life, for the second time.

Prosecution barrister Timothy Langdale QC outlined details of the kidnap and murder of the eight-year-old schoolgirl to a new jury.

Sarah's father, Michael, 33 and grandfather Terry, 58, sat in the public gallery with their heads bowed as Mr Langdale gave a graphic description of how Sarah's body was found in a shallow grave, partly dismembered by animals.

He told the court how Sarah was snatched from a field in Kingston Gorse on July 1 last year.

Her body was found 16 days later, buried in a shallow grave, 21 miles away near the A29 near Pulborough.

The first day of the new trial got underway at Lewes Crown Court today after the jury in the original trial was discharged because of a "procedural irregularity".

Sarah's relatives heard Mr Langdale recount the evidence given to the previous jury almost word for word.

Mechanic Roy Whiting, 42, formerly of St Augustine Road, Littlehampton, is charged with Sarah's kidnap and murder.

Mr Langdale began his opening speech by telling the court how Sarah and her family, who live in Hersham, had gone to visit her grandparents, Terence and Lesley, at their home at Kingston Gorse, near Littlehampton.

He said: "They arrived at about 5.30pm. They had something to eat and since it was a pleasant evening they all went for a walk, except for the grandmother Lesley.

"They made their way to a nearby beach. With them was the family dog. The grandfather suggested the adults might want to go to look at a house of a friend nearby on which he was doing some painting.

"When they all got down to the beach the adults parted from the children. The mother Sara was quite happy for them to do this as long as they stayed together.

"They were familiar with the area because they had visited their grandparents' house a number of times in the past.

"The children didn't stay for long on the beach and decided to go to a field which had an informal play area, some tree trunks and a rope swing.

"They made their way across the field and played a game between themselves which involved the girls hiding in the corn and the boys with the dog trying to find them.

"There was a little gap in the hedge through which they made their way to the field. At some stage after they were playing that game it seemed Sarah got a bang on her head or her nose as a result of Lee pushing her or knocking into her and her falling to the ground.

"She was crying for a bit and upset for a while.

"At some stage perhaps still upset by having got a knock, Sarah decided to go back to the grandparents' home. She set off in the direction of a large gap in the hedge to go to Kingston Lane.

"When she started to make her way across the field on her own, Luke decided to go after her, when she got about halfway he caught up with her and told her to wait, so Lee and Charlotte could come along as well.

"He left Sarah and went back to get Lee and Charlotte. However Sarah decided to run on towards the gap.

"Lee, the eldest brother, started to run diagonally through the corn to try to catch Sarah up and head her off from getting through the gap on her own.

"However when he was about halfway across the field, Sarah got through the gap.

"That was the last sight Lee had of her. Indeed it was the last time anyone saw her alive. Anyone except of course the man who abducted and killed her."

The court heard how police were called at 9.10pm following a frantic search for Sarah of the fields, lanes and roads surrounding her grandparents' house.

He said police quickly became suspicious about Sarah's disappearance and he said Sarah's abductor had been "on the prowl" looking for children.

He said: "What's clear is that nobody could have predicted that Sarah was going to walk out of that field at the time she did.

"It was pure chance but it was what happened."

As Lee crossed the field he momentarily saw a white van drive along Kingston Lane, the jury heard. As he left the field he assumed he would find Sarah making her way back to their grandparents' house.

He started to jog along Kingston Lane and as he approached Peak Lane he again saw a white van.

He saw the van pull out of Peak Lane at speed with its wheels spinning, and as he carried on the van came back towards him along the lane.

Lee noticed it was an unmarked long wheel-based van with no windows either in its rear doors or on the sides.

Mr Langdale said: "As the driver passed Lee he grinned or smiled at him and gave a wave of his hand.

"Lee described the driver as being scruffy, who looked as if he had not shaven for a while. He said his hair was dark with little bits of grey in it. He said the driver was wearing a checked shirt with red and blue in the check.

"Lee did not realise his sister was in the back of the van."

Mr Langdale told the jury how a white van, similar to the one seen by Luke, had been seen speeding away from Kingston Lane by another driver shortly after Sarah's disappearance.

He then went on to tell the court how Sarah's body was found by a farm labourer 16 days after she disappeared.

He said: "Luke Holden, as he went about his work clearing ragwort from a field off the A29, made the gruesome discovery.

"He moved across the field, pulling out the plants as he went, when he came across what at first he thought was a dead animal."

Michael and Terence in the public gallery both sat with their heads bowed and their eyes closed as Mr Langdale continued: "To his horror he realised it was part of the body of a dead child.

"In fact it was Sarah's body that had been partially pulled out of the shallow hole in which she had been buried by her murderer.

"Pulled, that is, by animals. It was a shallow hole, no doubt created hurriedly and quickly, probably at the dead of night and in such a way that animals could get to it, as indeed they did.

"Parts of the body were missing."

He said the body had been buried 35 metres into the field, down a track off the A29.

He said there was scientific evidence showing it had been buried shortly after her abduction.

He said: "It's the prosecution's case that Sarah Payne met her death not very long after the time she was picked up."

He then went on to tell the court how a pathologist, who carried out an examination of Sarah's body, concluded that she had met a violent death.

He said decomposition of the body meant it was impossible for the pathologist to say exactly how Sarah had been killed.

He said: In view of the circumstances of the disposal of the body, the absence of clothing and the absence of any natural disease, the pathologist has no doubt she met a violent death.

"The overall pattern indicates it was a case of sexually motivated homicide.

"The most likely mechanism of death is asphyxiation caused by compression of the neck by a broad and soft ligature, something being bound around her neck, or a force on the neck in an armlock, or the application of pressure from the palms of the hand."

He said all these types of killing would leave little trace on even a fresh body, let alone on one which had spent two weeks exposed to the elements.

The jury heard how a vital piece of evidence in the case was one of Sarah's shoes, the only piece of her clothing which was recovered in the huge investigation.

Deborah Bray saw the little black shoe lying on the side of the B2139 Coolham road on the Monday after Sarah disappeared.

When Sarah's body was found nearby 17 days later Mrs Bray rang police who went back to the spot and managed to locate it.

Mr Langdale said: "The shoe was later identified by Sarah's mum as belonging to Sarah.

"Scientific examination of the shoe revealed evidence linking it to items found in Whiting's van."

The court was then told Whiting lied to police about his whereabouts on the night Sarah vanished.

Officers went to Whiting's flat at 7.15pm on July 2. There was no answer, so they left, returning 90 minutes later.

Detectives were invited in and carried out a brief search of the flat. He told them he had been at a funfair in Hove between 6pm and 8.30pm on the previous evening before returning to his flat, where he remained.

He took them to see his white van, which was parked in the road outside. The officers noted it fitted the description given by Luke of a large van with a long wheel base.

They stayed to watch the van, parking a little way down the road. Mr Langdale said Whiting emerged from his flat and went to the van.

They watched as he appeared to remove items from it. He was challenged and arrested.

Police who carried out a search of the van found a till receipt from a petrol station tucked behind the steering wheel.

Mr Langdale said the receipt was for diesel bought from Buck Barn Garage at 10pm on Saturday night.

He said: "The garage is rather close to where Sarah's shoe was found and to where her body was buried than it is to Hove.

"It is nowhere on the route which Whiting has said he had taken back to his flat."

Mr Langdale told the court that three small scratches were found on Whiting's arms when he was examined at Chichester police station.

The trial continues.

November 16 2001