PICTURED: Baby-faced killer, 19, who stabbed to death 14-year-old son of millionaire finance worker in ‘sexually motivated’ murder after they met online playing video games
- Lewis Daynes, 19, pleads guilty to murder of schoolboy Breck Bednar
- 14-year-old was found with fatal neck wound at Daynes’s flat in Essex
- Family members said Breck left home after arranging to see a friend
- Teenager travelled to Daynes’s flat 30 miles from his Surrey home
- Daynes denied murder but changed plea on day he was due to stand trial
- Breck was killed on his teaching assistant mother Lorin LaFave’s birthday
- She warned today of the ‘very real danger’ posed by ‘online predators’
- Father Barry Bednar was also in court to see Daynes admit murder
This is the baby-faced teenager killer who stabbed the 14-year-old son of a millionaire finance worker to death in a ‘sexually motivated’ murder after they met online playing video games.
Lewis Daynes, 19, pleaded guilty today to the murder of Breck Bednar who was found with a fatal neck wound at the computer engineer’s flat in Grays, Essex, in February.
After his death, family members said Breck, from Caterham in Surrey, had left home after arranging to meet a friend online, and today the schoolboy’s mother warned of the ‘very real danger’ posed by ‘online predators’.
Tragedy: Baby-faced Lewis Daynes (left) today admitted murdering Breck Bednar, 14, (right) who was found with a fatal neck wound at Daynes’s flat in Grays, Essex, in February
The church-going son of a millionaire finance worker – who was said to be addicted to online computer games – travelled by train to the flat of stranger Daynes, then 18, who it is believed he had played with over the internet.
Hours later, the youngster was found dead by police at a flat in Grays – 30 miles away from the family home – after being knifed in the neck.
Paramedics tried to revive him but he died at the scene.
Daynes had denied murder but dramatically changed his plea on the day he was due to stand trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Dressed smartly in a grey suit with a white shirt and tie when he appeared in the dock today, Daynes said ‘guilty’ as the court clerk read the charge to him.
The victim’s father, oil futures trader Barry Bednar, who is originally from Houston, Texas, and now works at investment firm Tandem Partners in London, was in court to hear Daynes’s guilty plea.
Parents: Breck’s mother Lorin LaFave, 47, (left) said she was ‘heartbroken and lost’ by her son’s death and warned of the ‘dangers of online predators’. His father Barry Bednar (right) was also in court today
Barrister Richard Whittam QC said it was the prosecution’s case that the murder ‘involved a sexual, sadistic motivation.’
He said: ‘The prosecution case was that at the time of his murder Breck was aged 14.
‘The law makes specific provision for the murder of a child involving sexual or sadistic motivation.
‘The prosecution have advanced the case on that basis and anticipate doing that again on the date of sentence.’
Daynes, flanked by two security officers, looked straight ahead and showed no emotion during the hearing.
Mother: Fighting back tears, Ms LaFave thanked Breck’s family and friends for their support and the police who ‘worked so hard on this tragic case’
Legacy: After their son’s death, Ms LaFave and Mr Bednar set up the Breck Bednar Memorial Foundation in honour of their son to raise money and awareness to help protect children
Simon Mayo QC, mitigating, said: ‘For our part we would not be in the position to provide my lady with the assistance she needs [to sentence] for a few weeks.
Mrs Justice Cox adjourned sentencing to January 12. The trial had been expected to last three weeks.
Breck’s mother, U.S.-born teaching assistant Lorin LaFave, 47, said today she was ‘heartbroken and lost’ after the death of her son, who was killed on her birthday.
Speaking outside court, Ms LaFave said: ‘I am heartbroken and lost without my Breck and I will never be the same.
Scene: Breck was found at Daynes’s flat in Grays, Essex, in February. He had been stabbed in the neck and although paramedics tried to revive him, he died at the scene
Investigation: Police guard the Essex flat where Breck was found in February
‘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.’
Fighting back tears, Ms LaFave thanked Breck’s family and friends for their support and the police who ‘worked so hard on this tragic case’.
After their son’s death, Ms LaFave and Mr Bednar set up the Breck Bednar Memorial Foundation in honour of their son to raise money and awareness to help protect children.
‘I’ll never stop missing my Breck,’ Ms LaFave said.
Tribute: Ms LaFave said her ‘amazing’ teenage son ‘had so much potential that he will never now reach’
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 January 12 upon which Daynes will be sentenced for this crime.’
Breck is thought to have been a keen player of violent shooter videogame Battlefield 4, which thousands of teenagers play online.
The teenager’s funeral at St John the Evangelist Church in Surrey was held on March 17 – which would have been Breck’s 15th birthday.
Following Breck’s death, relatives said they were ‘devastated’ and ‘in shock’.
They said in a statement: ‘He was a kind, intelligent, thoughtful boy with a good sense of humour and was a dedicated student at St Bede’s School in Redhill and extremely gifted in computing, electronics, and engineering.
‘His three younger siblings knew him as a kind and loving older brother who always helped out by looking after them.
Home: Breck, from Caterham in Surrey, had left his family home (pictured) after arranging to meet a friend
‘The wider family remember him as a well-mannered, social, and confident boy who was always thoughtful and patient with his younger cousins. We are all in shock, and so grateful for the thoughts and prayers of friends and family at this difficult time.’
Following her son’s death, Ms LaFave said in an internet post: ‘Breck was a clever, good and helpful boy.
‘Like most teenagers, socialising, computers and games were what he enjoyed.
‘The problem was a predator who was trying to control his ideology about religion, government, family, education. Breck looked up to him because of his interesting manner and computer skills.
Tributes: Breck’s family said they were ‘devastated’ and ‘in shock’ after the teenager’s death
‘Breck couldn’t see the bad and when I pointed out his obvious lies, they were overlooked by Breck, his friends, and unfortunately the police. Breck may have been shy when we saw cousins over three years ago, however he is actually very calm, clever and confident young man. Unfortunately too confident and independent to believe my warnings.’
His father, who owns a £1million flat in Canary Wharf as well as a £600,000 home in Surrey, had said his son appeared ‘excited’ after returning from a school trip to Spain.
He said: ‘I last saw him on Sunday. He was a happy, gentle and smart boy. He had been in Spain for ten days and he was excited to see us and be home again.’
In an internet post written after Breck’s death, a person who said he was the schoolboy’s cousin described him as being ‘addicted’ to video games and had stopped going to church and turned against his parents after meeting a man on the internet.
In an internet post, he wrote that Breck was an ‘incredibly smart, funny, and cute 14-year-old boy’, before adding: ‘Despite this it was very difficult for him to make friends and he would often avoid social interaction.
‘So, like myself and many others he turned to his computer and the internet for entertainment.
‘He loved to play video games and may have even been a bit addicted to them. He ended up meeting someone who he thought wanted to be his friend.
‘Soon a man began telling him that his parents hated him, and that God isn’t real, and that he shouldn’t go to church.
‘They tried talking to him and helping him to no avail.
‘Two nights ago, Breck told his father that he was going to his friend’s house for a sleepover a couple of blocks away.
‘He ended up taking a train down to Essex, about two hours away to meet a man he had been talking to over the internet.
Plea: Daynes had denied murder but dramatically changed his plea on the day he was due to stand trial at Chelmsford Crown Court (pictured)
MURKY ONLINE WORLD WHERE STRANGERS ARE FRIENDS
Friends of 14-year-old Breck Bednar said after his death that he would spend hours speaking to online ‘friends’ – often late at night – who he had never met in real life.
As they played videogames on the internet, they would use a computer program called Teamspeak 3 to chat to each other.
The software allows computer users to make free calls over the internet in a similar way to a conference call or Skype.
Video games: Breck is thought to have been a keen player of violent shooter videogame Battlefield 4, which thousands of teenagers play online
Users often wear a headset with an integrated microphone so they can talk as they play online with several other gamers. Private chat channels can also be set up by groups which are accessed by invitation only. Teamspeak is free to use but there is a fee if someone wants to block other users from joining in.
Breck is thought to have been a keen player of violent shooter videogame Battlefield 4, which thousands of teenagers play online. Hannah Broadbent, of online protection charity Childnet, said: ‘Young people should bear in mind that it’s not always easy to spot a groomer.
‘Often they might be chatting about things you are interested in and you might not realise. You can never be completely sure that a person is who they say they are on the internet.
‘The most important thing is that young people can tell someone if someone makes them feel uncomfortable online.
‘And never meet up in person or share any personal information. If they are contacted by someone who makes them feel uncomfortable it’s important to report it.
‘It’s really important that we educate young people so they know how to navigate the risks.’
‘Early the next morning, the police found his body.’
Breck’s aunt Lisa Barth described the boy as ‘absolutely wonderful’ and said his death was a ‘senseless, disgusting tragedy’.
And Christopher Curtis, headmaster of St Bede’s School, a Christian comprehensive in Redhill, Surrey, where Breck went to school, said: ‘Breck was a bright and hard-working student who was a real pleasure to teach.
‘His tutor describes him as a model student. A conscientious young man with a great deal of potential.’
It is understood the schoolboy was part of a gaming group run by Daynes called FEP squad, which had around eight members, all thought to be around age 14, and some of whom had never met in person.
Eventually almost all the members left and joined a different group, but Breck stayed.
Speaking after his arrest, Daynes’s neighbours said he was ‘extremely quiet’ loner who moved into the property 18 months before the tragedy with the help of his grandparents, who paid for his rent and bills.
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.
‘BRECK, I’M SO SORRY FOR WHAT LEWIS HAS DONE’: FRIEND OF TEENAGERS DESCRIBES HOW DAYNES GROOMED TRAGIC SCHOOLBOY
Victim: Breck Bednar, 14, was found with a fatal neck wound in Grays, Essex, in February
One of Breck’s online friends described how Lewis Daynes, groomed the teenager destroying his relationships with family and friends and ‘even changing his beliefs.’
And he claims that Daynes tried to explain what happened to other members of an internet community using TeamSpeak, which is similar to Skype.
In social website post, the gamer said he had been a member of an online community run by Daynes, who today admitted Breck’s murder.
The player, who describes himself as Daynes’ best friend at the time, says the community split in late 2013 but that Breck sided with Lewis despite warnings he was being ‘manipulated’ by him.
Describing how Daynes became a ‘control freak’ he wrote: ‘To answer just about everyone’s questions.
‘Breck was part of an online community on teamspeak 3 (like Skype) he was first introduced to the community in early 2013, our server host was Lewis Daynes.
‘There was a difference in the community and there was a split, my friends made a new community and Lewis, Breck and some others stayed on their own teamspeak server.
‘From then on I don’t know what happened between Breck and Lewis, from what little information I got I cannot say whether Lewis was intentionally trying to turn Breck against his family etc.
‘Then Breck said to his family he was going for a sleepover at a friend’s house, instead he took the train to Essex to meet Lewis Daynes.’
The friend added that he did not know what had prompted Daynes to hurt Breck.
He said: ‘He was a very morally right person. I don’t understand what happened.’
The gamer wrote that the friendship group had split in 2013, when Daynes, who he described as his ‘best friend’ at the time, became a ‘control freak’.
He said: ‘There was one big particularly big argument (the topic of the argument doesn’t matter) and I had a different opinion to him, and he banned me from his server (basically setting a wall so I can’t connect to that server). I came back a week later, but he soon persisted with other people, revoking permissions to that server, controlling their opinions.
‘It got to the point where most of us left, but Breck was still friends with him at the time so he stayed, George was also a part that community till he could take it no longer with Lewis and left, many of his friends follow as well and came to our server, he tried explaining to Breck what Lewis was doing to him, controlling him, using him etc.’
He said that Breck had then blocked all communications with the other online friends, and blamed Daynes for this.
He continued: ‘He lied to Breck that we hated him, which we evidently didn’t because we were still trying to explain to him about Lewis.
‘Breck I’m so sorry for what Lewis has done to you accidently or on purposely :'(
‘Words can’t even start to portray what a fantastic person you were but, I’m going to miss those long nights of battlefield, staying up, playing those stupid 1000 ticket games, trying to compete in our K/D scores, talking about random malarkey.’
He added: ‘Breck Bednar, my friend, Rest in Peace.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2848673/Lewis-Daynes-admits-murdering-14-year-old-boy-met-online-playing-video-games.html#ixzz3K772NBfV
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