It was an emotional interview on today’s Good Morning Britain, as murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne’s siblings spoke out about their ordeal.
Luke and Charlotte Payne, Sarah’s brother and sister, came on the show ahead of the airing of a new Channel 5 documentary entitled Sarah Payne: A Mother’s Story, which will show interviews with Sarah’s mother and siblings.
Although it has been 17 years since Sarah’s death, Luke in particular said the scenario regularly plays in his mind. He was witness to Sarah’s disappearance, as was Charlotte, as they were playing with their sister at the time.
The children were playing near their grandparents’ home, Sarah was eight years old, and while playing hide and seek she had a “little tiff” with her other brother Lee and she ran off across the field. As she got out onto the road, convicted paedophile Roy Whiting was waiting there and took her away in his van.
Luke, 28, had almost caught up with Sarah and begged her to come back but she wouldn’t. Luke admits to losing his temper with her and told her: “Go on then fine just go” after which he went back to Lee and Charlotte, and Lee went out to try and catch up with Sarah.
Although Lee wasn’t on the show, he has recalled in the documentary airing tonight that Roy Whiting smiled and waved at him while he sped away. It was an agonising 16 days later before her naked body was found in a shallow grave.
Luke admits that the day Sarah went missing goes through his mind all the time. He said to hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid: “It plays through my head every day, when I close my eyes it’s there. I can’t get away from it to be honest.”
Although Charlotte was only five years old at the time her sister was abducted, she confessed to feeling guilty that she wasn’t taken instead. She said: “That could have been me. It just so happened it was her. You do get a guilt from that. You think ‘why not me?’.”
Luke responded: “Charlotte you were a lot younger and Sarah was a bit older. She liked to rebel against her older brothers.
“We played there all the time. Literally we went to our nan and grandad’s most weekends. It was nothing out of the ordinary.”
Luke was only 11 years old when Sarah was abducted, but he has felt the trauma of the tragedy throughout his life. He said: “It’s been up and down. It’s devastating. You can’t really explain the effect it’s had on us.
“You don’t know what it would be like if it hadn’t have happened, would you be the same person? It’s life changing.”
The siblings, who were still visibly devastated by their family’s loss, praised their mum for her campaign to change the law in order for other parents to be able to find out if there are convicted child sex offenders living near them. The law requires that police make information known to the public about local sex offenders.
Charlotte said: “She’s an amazing woman, I’m so proud of her,” and Luke continued: “No one should have to deal with that, no one should have to bury a child, lose a sister at that age.”
The Channel 5 documentary Sarah Payne: A Mother’s Story airs tonight at 9pm on Channel 5, and all three siblings Luke, Lee and Charlotte will feature in the programme along with their mother Sara Payne.