The mother of 14-year-old boy groomed, tricked and murdered by a teenage sexual sadist he met online accused the authorities of incompetence tonight after it emerged that his killer had been arrested in a rape inquiry three years earlier.
Lorin LaFave called police about the increasingly sinister behaviour of 19-year-old Lewis Daynes two months before he enticed her son Breck Bednar to an Essex flat, slashed his throat and sent pictures of the body to friends. Two forces are now being investigated over their handling of the case,
Daynes, who was jailed for a life on Monday with a minimum jail term of 25 years, had befriended Breck Bednar after the pair met as part of a group playing online video games. Breck - who had only met Daynes in person that day - agreed to go to back to his flat on the promise of making money through a fictional software business.
Daynes had bought condoms and a tape to tie up his victim a month before the killing.
“Following the infliction of the fatal injury to Breck Bednar, Lewis Daynes disseminated images of his body to at least two people as well as making contact with a member of his online community to tell them that he was dead,” said Richard Whitham QC, outlining the prosecution’s case. He said there was evidence of sexual activity between the two before the killing
Breck’s triplet siblings, then aged 12, learned of his death when they were texted photos of the body by others.
Daynes then called 999 and told police that Breck came at him with a knife during an altercation. He also submerged his computer in water to destroy evidence.
It could be reported yesterday Daynes had been accused of rape in 2011 against another boy when they were both aged 15. The investigation ended with a decision by Essex police not to go ahead with the case.
The allegations were re-investigated after the murder and Daynes was charged with five offences including rape, attempted rape and possessing indecent images. Daynes had denied the charges and they were subsequently dropped after the alleged victim declined to give evidence.
Both Essex police, which investigated the rape investigation, and the force in Surrey, who received the call from Ms LaFave outlining her concerns of Daynes’ behaviour, are under investigation by the police watchdog.
“I believed that the police would help me,” said Ms LaFave outside the court following the jailing of Daynes. “I had given them enough information to check their systems to see that in fact Daynes was known to the police. We all make mistakes but incompetence in child protection is unacceptable.”
She called on Government to properly fund police investigations for offences involving children, and to share information between agencies.
Daynes, a computer engineer, had previously pleaded guilty to the murder of Breck at his home in Grays, Essex, in February last year.
Daynes had groomed Breck through the online community dedicated to war games, including Call Of Duty and Battlefield, and had sought to separate him from his family through a series of e-mails, Chelmsford Crown Court was told. Daynes had behaved in a similar way to other boys including sending one a video of a man being beheaded.
Mrs Justice Cox told Daynes that his contact with Breck increased in a sinister way. “The precise details of what happened in your flat are unclear and may never be known,” the judge said. “I’m sure that this murder was driven by sadistic or sexual motivation.”
The police watchdog said yesterday that the member of staff who took the call from Ms LaFave resigned from the force in August 2014. Another member of staff faces a misconduct probe. The watchdog said yesterday it was trying to find out if Surrey police properly trained its staff on child protection. It is also investigating the response by Essex police to the rape allegation and whether their decisions were in line with national guidance.