| 7.8°C Belfast

Sarah Payne's father - no inquest


Michael Payne died of natural causes

Michael Payne died of natural causes

Michael Payne died of natural causes

No inquest will be held into the death of the father of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne following his death from natural causes, according to a coroner's office.

The body of Michael Payne, 45, was found at his home in Maidstone, Kent, in October in what police said were non-suspicious circumstances.

Now the office for Patricia Harding, coroner for Mid Kent and Medway, has confirmed that he died from natural causes and an inquest will not be held.

According to friends and relatives, Mr Payne died after years of struggling with his "demons".

He fought an alcohol problem after eight-year-old Sarah was abducted and killed by paedophile Roy Whiting in West Sussex in 2000.

Mr Payne split from his wife Sara in 2003 after 18 years together, with both of them blaming the pressure of coping with the loss of their cherished daughter.

As messages of condolence flowed in following his death, their daughter Charlotte posted a picture of Mr Payne on Facebook alongside a message saying she was "heartbroken".

"No matter what happened and how many mistakes we all made. You will always be my daddy," she wrote.

Her brother Lee wrote: "Dad, you had your demons and troubles but you had a good heart and was a decent man!"

Whiting was convicted of the abduction and murder of Sarah at Lewes Crown Court in East Sussex on December 12 2001 and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Sarah, who lived in Hersham, Surrey, disappeared on the evening of July 1 2000 from a cornfield near the home of her paternal grandparents, Terence and Lesley Payne.

Her body was found on July 17 in a field near Pulborough, some 15 miles from Kingston Gorse where she had disappeared.

Talking at the time about their marriage split, Mrs Payne spoke about the difficulties the couple had with coping with Sarah's loss.

She told the now-defunct News Of The World: ''We know we're not the same people we once were - and everyone knows the awful reason why.''

Mr Payne told the newspaper he felt guilty for being unable to protect his daughter and said this put strain on his marriage.

Three years ago he was jailed after pleading guilty to glassing his brother Stephen following a heavy drinking session.

Sentencing him at Maidstone Crown Court, Judge Jeremy Carey said he had the ''deepest sympathy'' for the loss of his daughter but the offence warranted a jail sentence.

Speaking after the jail term for Whiting was reduced from 50 to 40 years in 2010, Mr Payne said the decision was ''outrageous''.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Top Videos