Evil Roy Whiting was told to rot in hell after he was jailed for life for kidnapping and murdering Sarah Payne.

As Whiting was led to the cells, Sarah's grandfather leaned towards him and shouted: "I hope you rot in hell."

The 42-year-old painter and decorator blinked back tears as the judge called him an evil man who was every parent's nightmare.

In 1995 he was jailed for four years for a similar sex attack on a nine-year-old girl he abducted outside her home in Crawley and bundled into the back of his car.

There were cheers in court when the female foreman of the jury delivered the unanimous guilty verdicts at 2.46pm yesterday.

Sarah's mother, Sara, collapsed in tears into the arms of her husband Michael.

Outside Lewes Crown Court, she said the verdict did not make the family happy but justice had been done and at least Sarah could rest in peace.

Cuddled by Michael on the court steps, she said: "Now let's make sure this stops happening time and time again.

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

"Why should it be on policemen's shoulders? This is down to the Government and the Government only can make the decision. We have a lot of work to do. It doesn't stop here, it just begins."

She thanked the police, public, media and witnesses for their support.

Sara's mother, Elizabeth Williams, said: "He 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."

She said of the verdicts: "I felt relief and elation. He will never come out again and that is what should happen.

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

"We can never come to terms with having lost Sarah. As long as we live she will always be in our hearts and minds and she will always be alive.

"We will always miss her but her absence we have to come to terms with."

As Whiting, formerly of St Augustine Road, Littlehampton, was driven away to jail, a woman shouted: "Bastard - rot in hell!" and slapped the side of the prison van.

Lewes MP Norman Baker today called for tougher legislation to keep child sex offenders behind bars unless they can prove beyond doubt they no longer pose a threat.

The Liberal Democrat said: "I will be asking the Home Secretary to review this case to see what lessons can be learned and whether there should be legislation to make sure those offenders unable to prove they no longer pose a danger are not released."

He said it could mean some being detained indefinitely or until they were too old or had changed physically and were incapable of hurting children.

December 13, 2001