Mother issues stark grooming warning after son was killed by predator he met playing online games
A new film will be shown to secondary schoolchildren across Northamptonshire to tell the true story of a teenager who was murdered by an 18-year-old after forming a friendship through online gaming.
Breck’s Last Game is a new short film about a 14-year-old boy who was murdered by Essex computer engineer Lewis Daynes in 2014.
Through Breck's friends at school he was introduced to Daynes, who ran an online server where Breck and several of his friends played games together, but over time Breck's behaviour changed and he was quickly manipulated by the adult.
It was through this forum that Daynes groomed Breck over 13 months – telling him a series of lies, turning him against family and friends, and eventually luring him to his flat on the promise of handing over a fake business.
Describing Breck - his mother Lorin LaFave said: “He was such an easy boy he didn't get into trouble, he did well at school, he took himself off to school, set his own alarm and did homework - he knew what he wanted to study: sciences and technology and he joined Air Cadets because he wanted to be a pilot.
"I could always hear him laughing and joking in his own room when he was playing online and that's when I recognised that I heard a man's voice and that concerned me."
Through the use of avatars, the film captures the events leading up to Breck’s death and also features the real 999 call made to police by Daynes.
The project is the work of a collaboration between four police forces – Northamptonshire, Leicestershire Essex and Surrey – and has been made with the support of Breck’s mother Lorin, who appears in the film as herself.
"He got stroppier, a little bit mouthier, I couldn't tell whether this was normal teenage behaviour like I had back then but it seemed like it all connected with his relationship with the predator."
"They would spend a lot of time online in a group and at the end when the group tapered off some people didn't like spending time alone with Lewis anymore because he got so controlling and manipulative - he was almost bullying some of the boys and they didn't agree with him.
"So as time went on Breck became isolated and Lewis made him think that his real friends weren't his real friends, but instead he was his real friend. He became secretive and the predator sent him a brand new smart phone so when I forbade contact he [Daynes] provided a new source of contact, which I wasn't aware of.
The film was launched yesterday (Tuesday, 18 September) and will now be rolled-out in schools across Northamptonshire, where it will be shown to secondary school pupils.
Speaking at the launch of the film Assistant Chief Constable James Andronov said: “Not all cases of grooming will result in someone being killed or sexually assaulted and not everyone online poses a threat. But, as Breck’s case sadly shows, the risks are all too real and this is not an issue we can shy away from – Breck’s death clearly shows us the consequences of grooming can be absolutely horrific.
“We cannot expect, nor can we mandate children and young people to understand they have been groomed or that what is happening to them is abuse and we cannot expect parents to interpret and analyse with perfect clarity the different risks posed by different channels that groomers use.
“What we can do is make advice as accessible as possible. That’s what we hope to achieve with Breck’s Last Game, while addressing the under-reporting of child sexual exploitation among boys which continues to be an issue for child sexual exploitation services nationally and locally. I believe that Breck’s Last Game, which will be shown in schools with the right support wrapped around screenings, will do just that.”
Daynes, who was 18 at the time of the offence, was sentenced in 2015 to a minimum of 25 years in prison for Breck’s murder.
School children in Leicestershire, Surrey and Essex will also be shown Breck’s Last Game as part of planned lessons over the coming months with a trailer of the film now available to view online.