A 19-year-old computer engineer has admitted murdering a schoolboy in Essex after the pair met playing video games online.
Lewis Daynes dramatically changed his plea to guilty today over the death of 14-year-old Breck Bednar, in what prosecutors claim was a killing that "involved a sexual and sadistic motivation".
Speaking outside court, Breck's mother Lorin LaFave spoke of the "very real danger" posed by "online predators", after losing her son on her birthday in February this year.
She said she was left "heartbroken and lost" when it emerged Breck had been stabbed to death at a flat in Grays, Essex, more than 30 miles from the family home in Caterham, Surrey.
After his death, family members said Breck had left home after arranging to meet a friend online. He had told his parents he was going to a sleep-over at a friend's house just around the corner.
"Breck was my amazing, clever, beautiful boy, a beautiful son who we will miss forever," Ms LaFave said.
"He had so much potential that he will never now reach. He had so much to give to this world.
"I want Breck's tragedy to open the eyes of everyone to recognise the dangers of online predators. It is a very real danger today."
The Breck Bednar Memorial Foundation has been set up to help raise money and awareness to help protect children, she added.
"I'll never stop missing my Breck," Ms LaFave said.
Ms LaFave and the victim's father, millionaire oil futures trader Barry Bednar, who is originally from Houston, Texas, were both in court to hear Daynes's guilty plea.
Dressed smartly in a grey suit with a white shirt and tie when he appeared in the dock, Daynes spoke softly as he replied "guilty" after the court clerk read the charge to him. He will be sentenced on 12 January.
Following Breck's death, Surrey Police referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission over a report it received last December from a family member relating to online activity.
Chris Curtis, headteacher of St Bede's School, said the school had been devastated by the "awful news" of the Year 10 pupil's death.
He said: "Breck was a bright and hardworking student who teachers describe as a real pleasure to teach.
"His tutor described him as a model student: a conscientious young man with a great deal of potential.
"We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and with all affected."
Speaking outside court, Detective Chief Superintendent Tracy Hawkings said: "Lewis Daynes, 19, has today admitted the murder of Breck Bednar, a 14-year-old child. The prosecution alleges the murder involved a sexual or sadistic motivation, but this is yet to be determined.
"The full facts of the case will be opened on Monday 12 January upon which Daynes will be sentenced for this crime."
Additional reporting by PAReuse content