STOP SEX OFFENDERS | UK: Megan's mother backs Sarah's Law
 
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UK: Megan's mother backs Sarah's Law.


November 8, 2000

The mother of murdered American schoolgirl Megan Kanka has condemned the UK Government for failing to introduce an anti-paedophile law following the death of Sarah Payne.

Maureen Kanka, whose daughter's death inspired the United States' Megan's Law, spoke out after meeting eight-year-old Sarah's parents Sara and Michael.

The Paynes, who travelled to America with ITV's Tonight With Trevor McDonald programme, have been campaigning for a "Sarah's Law" to allow UK parents access to the Sex Offenders Register.

In September, the UK Home Secretary Jack Straw unveiled a package of proposals to keep tighter control on released paedophiles which fell short of allowing full public access to the register.

Mrs Kanka said she was appalled that the Paynes' campaign had not been supported by UK politicians.

"How can anyone stand by after seeing what happened to your daughter, see the need for legislation, see the support from the public and not come forward and push for this?" she said.

She urged the Paynes to keep up the pressure on Mr Straw.

"You need to be that little bug at the back of his head," she said.

Mirror image

Sarah Payne was abducted when she was playing near her grandparents' house in Kingston, West Sussex, on 1 July.

Her naked body was discovered in a country lane near Pulborough, West Sussex on 17 July.

Mrs Kanka's seven-year-old daughter Megan was raped, tortured and strangled six years ago in New Jersey by a neighbour.

Following the murder, the US Government introduced Megan's Law - which gives parents the right to know where sex offenders live.

Mrs Kanka described the Paynes' experiences as "looking in the mirror at myself and my husband".

"They are beginning a journey that we have been doing for the past six years and it's almost like you feel like you know each other because you walk the same path," she said.

Sara Payne said the meeting with Mrs Kanka had given her the strength to carry on her campaign.

"I almost feel like my batteries have been recharged," she said.

"Since we've seen Megan's Law working here we know that it can now work."

Crimewatch

Public anger over Sarah's death prompted some people to take to the streets, and in some cases, attacks were carried out on the homes of suspected paedophiles.

Anti-paedophile groups threatened further action after Mr Straw's refusal to make the Sex Offenders Register public.

Offender rehabilitation groups welcomed his decision, saying it would protect children and prevent child abusers from being driven underground.

The BBC1 Crimewatch UK programme at 2105GMT on Wednesday will feature a reconstruction of the day Sarah disappeared.

Tonight With Trevor McDonald will be shown at 2215GMT on Wednesday on ITV.


Source: BBC News.