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Roy William Whiting (born 1959) is a convicted killer and serial child rapist.
Born in Sussex, Whiting grew up with two siblings, with three others having died. Having dropped out of college in 1975, he became a mechanic and spent his spare time banger racing. In 1986, Whiting married Linda Booker, who he separated from in 1987 and divorced in 1990.
Five years later, Whiting abducted an eight-year-old girl in Langley Green and sexually assaulted her. A few weeks later, an acquaintance came forward and stated that the car the abductor used belonged to Whiting, who was arrested. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years imprisonment. While in jail, Whiting was assessed by a psychiatrist who came to the conclusion that if Whiting was released, he would continue abusing children and would probably kill his next victim. Despite this, Whiting was paroled halfway through his sentence.
In 2000 Whiting raped and murdered eight-year-old Sarah Payne. After being questioned due to having moved nearby and being a convicted sex offender, Whiting was arrested trying to flee in a van. He was released from custody two days later, although police found a receipt for fuel from the night of the murder, disproving Whiting's story he gave to police of being at a funfair. On the 17th of July, Sarah's body was found within 3 miles (4.8 kilometres) of the petrol station Whiting had stopped at. Whiting was arrested again on the 31st of July. He was released again as there was still little to no evidence.
However, Whiting was tormented by local residents and eventually moved out of his house. Soon after, he was arrested in a stolen Vauxhall Nova. With an excuse to keep Whiting in jail, the police discovered DNA evidence proving that Sarah had been in Whiting's car. Several witnesses also reported seeing Whiting with Sarah before she disappeared, and two people recalled that Whiting's car had stopped on the spot where the body was found. Despite this evidence, Whiting still claimed innocence. He was convicted of the murder on the 12th of December 2001 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Whiting's previous conviction and the psychiatrist's recommendations were made public knowledge soon after, resulting in the introduction of Sarah's Law, which allows access to the sex offenders register if a parent suspects their child is in danger.
In 2002, home secretary David Blunkett ruled that Whiting should be eligible for parole in 50 years. However, the British High Court decided that politicians did not have the right to choose how long prisoners served in jail, and in 2010, Whiting's parole date was brought forward 10 years, making him eligible for parole when he is 82.
During his sentence, Whiting was attacked by convicted murderer Rickie Tregaskis, who slashed his face with a razor blade, leaving him with a six inch scar on his cheek.