Murderer of 14-Year-Old Sentenced to Life in Prison, but Victim's Family Blames Police for Death
The American mother of a teenager stabbed to death in the U.K. is suing British police for failing to prevent her son’s murder.
On Monday, murderer Lewis Daynes, 19, was sentenced to life in prison for the fatal stabbing of Breck Bednar, 14. But Bednar’s mother, Michigan-born teaching assistant Lorin LaFave, says authorities could have prevented her son’s death if they’d acted on her warnings.
“It breaks my heart to think [that] a minute of someone’s time might have changed the course of what happened, for the police to check on him,” LaFave, 47, told reporters outside the courthouse in Chelmsford, Essex.
“It kills me to think one small action could have saved Breck’s life.”
LaFave first contacted her local police force about her son in December 2013, when she noticed him becoming increasingly isolated and withdrawn.
Despite providing the Surrey Police with a detailed account of how Breck was being manipulated online by a stranger, the mother was not called back by authorities.
Just two months later – on Feb. 17, 2014, – Daynes, the man communicating online with Breck, lured Bednar 30 miles from his family’s home in Caterham, Surrey, to an apartment in the town of Grays, Essex, and slashed his throat.
“No amount of years behind bars will ever change the poisonous attitude and actions of a psychotic animal who can behave this way, LeFave told reporters.
“No amount of years will bring back the lovely boy taken from us.”
The court heard that Bednar and Daynes had developed a friendship through an online gaming group called TeamSpeak in 2013.
Played Violent War Games
Together, the pair regularly played violent war games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, during which Daynes – using the online name EagleOneSix – managed to convince Bednar that he was an employee of the U.S. government and that he could help Bednar lay his hands on “great wealth” through a mysterious computer company.
Daynes eventually convinced Bednar to asks his dad’s permission to have a sleepover at a friend’s house, so that the 14-year-old could secretly travel across London and discuss the bogus computer firm with Daynes.
Hours later, Daynes brutally killed Bednar. He then showered and changed his clothes before calling the police operator.
In a chillingly calm voice Daynes said that he and the Bednar had an “altercation” and that “only one of us came out alive.”
Asked by the operator if he had killed somebody, Daynes replied simply: “Yes, I am.”
When officers arrived at the apartment, they found Bednar s body in the bedroom.
Posted Photos of the Dead Body Online
In a cruel twist, Daynes had already posted pictures of Bednar’s body online, so that they could be viewed by the dead teenager’s classmates and siblings. In an attempt to later destroy this evidence, Daynes threw his computer equipment into water.
Daynes will now serve a minimum of 25 years in jail.
Together with her husband, Houston-born oil millionaire Barry Bednar, 49, LeFave is taking legal action against Essex and Surrey police forces over their handling of the case.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is also investigating the two forces.
The family have also created the Breck Bednar Foundation in memory of their son. It hopes to support computer education for young people, including the responsible use of technology.
In an emotional statement read to the court, Barry Bednar said he had lost his “joy and hope” because of the murder and had been left a “shell of a man, wracked by grief.”
He added, that Breck “was too young to experience the pain and fear he must have gone through.”