LONDON The parents of a 14-year-old boy who was murdered in Britain after being groomed online have called on the police to change their system.
Breck Bednar was murdered on Feb 17 2014 by 19-year-old Lewis Daynes who lured the teen to his flat in Grays, Essex after meeting him online through gaming, British media reported.
A court there heard that the murder was “sexually or sadistically motivated”. The Guardian reported that there was sexual activity before the murder, and that the murderer sent pictures of the teen’s bloody body to online friends.
Two months before the tragedy, Bednar’s mother, Lorin LaFave, 47, had reportedly made a police report over fears that the older man was grooming her son.
She was quoted in Daily Mail Online as saying: “The problem was a predator who was trying to control his ideology about religion, government, family, education. Breck looked up to him because of his interesting manner and computer skills.”
Daynes was already on the national police database after grooming and rape allegations made against him in 2011. It emerged however, that LaFave’s allegations were not cross-checked against the information in the database before the murder. Bednar’s parents have come out to say that their son’s murder could have been prevented if the database had been checked.
Bednar had told his parents he was sleeping at a friend’s house near their home in Caterham, Surrey, but secretly travelled to see Daynes after months of talking to him in an online gaming forum. Daynes has since been jailed for life, which means he will be in jail for 25 years.
Barry Bednar, father of the murdered teen, has pushed for an investigation by police watchdog Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). He said: “We are challenging the police and the IPCC to get to the bottom of what happened to make sure it never happens again.”
The police hotline call handler who took LaFave’s call has reportedly quit, and another staff member has been served with a misconduct notice by the police watchdog, which is investigating how the force responded to claims the boy was being groomed in the months leading up to his murder.
A Surrey police spokesman was quoted in the British media as saying: “A review of our call-handling centre has been carried out and changes have been implemented to improve the way information is handled and shared.” – Agencies