Sara Payne left partially paralysed by stroke

SARA Payne, the mother of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne, has revealed that a stroke has left her paralysed down her left side.

Payne, a child protection campaigner, was taken to St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London, before Christmas after suffering a brain aneurysm.

Payne was unable to speak for a number of days, while relatives and friends kept a vigil by her bedside. She survived two major brain operations in 36 hours and is said to have been responding well to treatment. However, she has said she has a "long road" to recovery.

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Speaking for the first time since the illness, Payne, 40, who has deep scars from the surgery, said she would have to "take it slowly and be patient". She added: "The doctors have faith in me and know I'm a fighter. But I'm under no illusion – I've months of tough physio to get through, and there's a long road ahead.

"Rehab is the key to my getting better, to my getting home, and getting home is my top priority."

The mother of four from Surrey had a life-saving operation to cure a ruptured aneurysm in 2008. Her father, Brian Williams, who died two years ago, was left paralysed by an aneurysm at 55, according to reports.

Since the death of her daughter Sarah, eight, at the hands of paedophile Roy Whiting in 2000, Payne has become a prominent campaigner for victims' rights.

Sarah disappeared while out playing in July 2000. Sixteen days later, Payne was told her body had been found in a West Sussex field, 15 miles from the cornfield near her grandparents' home, where she had been playing.

Payne took up the government-appointed post of Victims' Champion at the end of January last year.

She launched a high-profile campaign for "Sarah's Law" after her daughter's murder, giving parents the right to know if paedophiles live near them.