A TEENAGER who stabbed to death a 14-year-old boy he befriended while playing online video games has been sentenced to life with a minimum of 25 years in jail.
Computer engineer Lewis Daynes, 19, pleaded guilty to the murder of Breck Bednar, from Caterham, Surrey, who was found with a fatal neck wound at a flat in Grays, Essex, on 17 February last year.
Mrs Justice Cox sentenced him at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday for the “sexual and sadistic” killing.
Prosecutors told the court Daynes groomed Breck through an online gaming community which he ran, before inviting him to his home, slitting his throat and sending pictures of his body to friends.
Shortly before the death, Daynes engaged in sexual activity with his victim.
Mrs Justice Cox said: “Having lured the young victim to your flat, you murdered him.
“You had befriended Breck and a number of other adolescent friends through an online community. Your contact with Breck increased in a sinister way.
“The precise details of what happened in your flat are unclear and may never be known. I’m sure that this murder was driven by sadistic or sexual motivation.”
Earlier, the judge had lifted restrictions preventing the reporting of five other charges Daynes faced. These included rape, attempted rape and two counts of engaging a person in sexual activity without consent and one of possessing indecent images.
Daynes has denied these offences, which are said to have happened in 2011 when both he and the alleged victim were aged 15.
It is understood the offences were reported to Essex Police at the time and he was arrested but officers decided not to take action. They were then re-investigated as part of the murder inquiry and he was charged.
Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC said there was no longer a realistic prospect of a conviction as the victim had since refused to give evidence.
The matter has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is investigating this along with other matters raised by the Bednar family about both Essex and Surrey police.
In the months before his death, Breck became isolated and his family were concerned at Daynes’s influence. Breck’s mother, Lorin LaFave, 47, contacted Surrey Police two months before the murder to raise concerns about Daynes’s controlling online behaviour.
Speaking after the hearing, she said: “When a person calls into a police number, you want a sense of security that somebody on the other end is taking it on board – you don’t phone the police for fun.
“I don’t know where it went wrong, but that’s what I want the investigation to find out.” Daynes, of Grays, had denied murder but changed his plea on the day he was due to stand trial.
The day before the murder was the first time the pair had met in person, but the court heard Daynes had groomed Breck through an online community and encouraged him to isolate himself from his family.
After slitting his victim’s throat, Daynes sent pictures of the fatally injured teenager to two friends.
The nature of Breck’s injuries meant death would have been “very rapid”, Mr Whittam said.
Daynes made a 999 call and claimed Breck had tried to take his own life and, as he struggled to restrain him, he accidentally stabbed him in the neck. While on remand, he changed this story, saying two masked men were responsible.
Simon Mayo QC, defending, said Daynes had Asperger’s syndrome which “affects his ability to make sound judgments”.