A film about a 14-year-old boy who was murdered by a man he met online is due to be shown to schoolchildren across the County to help raise awareness of online grooming among boys.
‘Breck’s Last Game‘ is about Surrey teenager Breck Bednar who was killed by Essex computer engineer Lewis Daynes in 2014.
Daynes ran an online server where Breck, and several of his friends, played games online.
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.
The project is the work of an innovative collaboration between four police forces – Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Essex and Surrey – and has been made with the active support of Breck’s mother Lorin LaFave, who appears in the film as herself.
The film was launched on Wednesday 19th September and is being rolled-out to schools across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, where it will be shown to secondary schoolchildren.
Speaking at the launch of the film, Deputy Chief Constable Rob Nixon, said: “The launch of Breck’s Last Game is the latest phase in our ongoing efforts to raise awareness of online grooming and child sexual exploitation.
“While Kayleigh’s Love Story was about a local teenager who was groomed over social media, and has been extremely successful in warning children of the dangers of online grooming, Breck’s Last Game tells a slightly different story.
“We recognise that boys are less willing to report CSE and we hope that this film will resonate with them, encourage anyone who is the victim of online grooming to report what is happening to them, and to generate conversations about the dangers posed online, not only in the classroom but also at home.
“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.
The full version of Breck’s Last Games, which carries a warning that, if it were to be screened at a cinema, it would carry a 15 certificate, won’t be released publicly until 2019 to enable it to be shown as part of planned lessons.
Breck’s mother Lorin said: “Breck’s story shows how easily grooming can happen. He met the predator through an online friendship group and would have been flattered to have an intelligent, older mentor helping him expand his gaming skills.
“At the time, I believed the offender was older than he was because he was so controlling and manipulative, even with me, so it’s important for young people to realise not only can predators lie about their age, where they live or who they are online, they can also be a similar age to the victim. They are not always the stereotypical ‘creepy old guy’.
“It’s so important for us to raise awareness of the fact that boys can be groomed too. Breck’s came after international media surrounding the Rochdale and Rotherham cases, where the victims were all girls. His version wasn’t the ‘typical’ type of grooming people had heard about in the news.
“His story shows even regular school boys can make mistakes if they aren’t educated to recognise the signs of grooming and exploitation.
“I hope through the Breck’s Last Game campaign, young people will take on the real life lessons from Breck’s story so they are able to look after each other, keep safe, and reach their full potentials. Our intention is to educate young people so they are empowered to make safer choices for themselves online.”
Leicestershire PCC helps fund the film
The film has been funded by Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach with additional contributions from Surrey, Essex and Northamptonshire police forces.
Lord Bach said: “Every single one of us has a responsibility to protect children and young people from abuse of any kind. As this film evocatively illustrates, abuse is not confined to young girls. Sadly however, many boys and young male victims will suffer in silence rather than seek help which means they don’t receive any support and the perpetrator escapes justice.
“If we can teach young people that all is not always what it seems, we give the knowledge to protect themselves, whether that is on the street or on-line. A film can do this very effectively.
“I also hope that the film will safeguard young males from harm and encourage any victims to speak out and report their experiences, so that we can stamp out this evil behaviour. This is another really good piece of work and I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to produce it.”