Breck Bednar murder: Parents of teenager killed by Lewis Daynes 'had warned police their son was being groomed'

Parents are suing two police forces

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The Independent Online

The parents of murdered teenager Breck Bednar, who was stabbed in the neck by an older boy that he met online, are suing two police forces over their handling of the case.

Computer engineer Lewis Daynes, 19, pleaded guilty yesterday of killing 14-year-old Breck Bednar after the younger boy travelled to his flat in February.

Breck had told his parents that he was staying at a friend's house but travelled two hours by train from their home in Caterham in Surrey to meet Daynes in Grays, Essex.

He then was stabbed by Daynes in a fatal attack that involved a “sexual, sadistic motivation,” prosecutor Richard Whittam QC told Chelmsford crown court.

Daynes initially denied murder but changed his plea moments before he was due to stand trial and he faces being sentenced for life by Mrs Justice Cox when he returns to court on 12 January.

Breck's father Barry Bednar and mother Lorin LaFave are seeking damages as they claim they warned Surrey Police in December that their son may have been groomed and manipulated online by an older man and they believe no action was taken to prevent Daynes from carrying out the killing two months later.

Bednar, 49, a millionaire oil trader from Texas in the US, and LaFave, 47, a teaching assistant from Michigan, accuse Essex Police of failing to communicate with Surrey Police about the case.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is currently investigating Surrey Police.

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Lewis Daynes pleaded guilty to murdering 14-year-old boy Breck Bednar

Outside court, LaFave paid tribute to her son - who was murdered on her birthday - and warned about the dangers of online grooming and advised parents and guardians to keep a close eye on online activity of their children.

She said: “I am heartbroken and lost without my Breck and I will never be the same. He was murdered on my birthday this year and so much of me died as well.”

“My poor triplets lost not only their adored big brother but also their mother. Breck was my amazing, clever, beautiful boy, a beautiful son who we will miss forever. 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. We all need to look after each other. We have set up the Breck Bednar memorial foundation to help raise money and awareness and protect all of our children from danger. I’ll never stop missing my Breck.”

In an internet post after Breck’s death in February, LaFave said that Daynes tried to “control [Breck's] ideology about religion, government, family, education”, but he was oblivious to the older boy's threat as he looked up to him.

The two teenagers are believed to have been members of an internet community on TeamSpeak 3, a social network similar to Skype, and to have played the computer game Battlefield 4.

Breck was a pupil at St Bede’s school in Redhill, Surrey, and was said to be a churchgoer and air cadet. A fund set up by his parents to deliver better computer education for young people has raised more than £26,000.

Asst Ch Con Gavin Stephens, of Surrey Police, said that since the murder the force had reviewed its call-handling procedures and implemented changes to improve the way information was handled and shared.

He said: “This has been a tragic case and our thoughts remain with Breck’s friends and family.”

“The [IPCC] have since decided to conduct an independent investigation into the actions taken by Surrey Police following this communication. We will fully cooperate with the ongoing investigation.”

An Essex Police spokesman said: “Essex Police have been notified of a civil claim against the force and it would be inappropriate to comment further on that matter at this time.”