The parents of murdered Sarah Payne have called on the Government to ensure other families do not suffer their tragedy.

Speaking as their daughter's killer Roy Whiting began a life sentence for murder and kidnap yesterday, Sara and Michael Payne said they believed justice had been done.

But Sara Payne said she would continue to call for Sarah's Law - similar to the US Megan's Law, which allows the public access to details of known paedophiles.

Police fear the move would mean registered paedophiles going underground - hampering any subsequent investigations.

The Paynes held a news conference - as they had countless times during the police inquiry - on the steps of Lewes Crown Court, surrounded by their family.

"What can I say?" Sara asked as she clasped her husband's hand.

"This doesn't make us happy, but justice has been done. Sarah can rest in peace now.

"Let's make sure this stops happening time and time again.

"People are being let out of prison when everybody concerned knows that this is going to happen again.

"Why should it be on policemen's shoulders? This is down to the Government."

Sarah's grandfather, Brian Williams, said the Government must listen to public opinion and make sure people like Whiting were jailed for the rest of their lives.

He called on Prime Minister Tony Blair to take notice of the public's views on paedophiles.

Sara Payne's sister Fiona Crook, 28, said the couple were informing their youngest child, Charlotte, six, about the verdict.

Sara's mother Elizabeth Williams said: "(Whiting) is every grandparent's worst nightmare.

"It's so difficult when you have young children not to allow them a little freedom, but now I don't know how you can do that.

"There are so many of these people out there and you don't realise how frequently these things happen.

"Paedophiles are evil men and they destroy children's lives."

Mrs Williams added: "I don't think he will have a very good time in prison and I'm pleased about that."

Her husband added: "Sarah's Law has got to be a law. There has to be a law to say enough is enough. Mr Blair should take notice of the public for once and stay here to sort this country for us."

Mrs Payne, of Hersham, Surrey, said: "The Government only can make this decision.

"Right now, we have got a lot of work to do and it doesn't stop here. It just begins."

She and her husband thanked the public for their support during the months since Sarah's disappearance, and thanked the police and the family liaison officers who have helped them.

Mr Payne said: "They have been with us over the last 17 months, without them we shouldn't have got through all this."

Asked what she thought when the guilty verdicts were returned, Mrs Payne said: "I thought of Sarah and nothing else."

Mrs Payne said the judge had a statement from a psychiatrist who had described Roy Whiting as "a man who will continue to pose a threat to society".

As she turned to go back into the courthouse, she was asked what changes she hoped would come from the tragedy.

She said: "You know what change I want - Sarah's Law."

December 13, 2001