January 12th 2015
The teenage killer of a 14-year-old boy he groomed online has been sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison.
19 year-old computer engineer Lewis Daynes admitted murdering Breck Bednar after months of grooming him on an online gaming forum. In February last year, Breck travelled secretly to Daynes’ flat in Grays, Essex, having told his parents he was sleeping at a friend’s house near to his home in Caterham, Surrey.
Breck, pictured here on the right, was bound with duct tape before being knifed in the throat. His killer sent photos of the body to at least two online friends. There was evidence of sexual activity between the two.
At Chelmsford Crown Court Mrs Justice Cox, ordered Daynes to serve life with a minimum of 25 years. She told him: “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. She continued: “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.”
Daynes had used the online pseudonym EagleOneSix in the internet gaming group TeamSpeak, in which he was described as the controlling ringmaster. He and the victim played Call of Duty, Battlefield and other games for hours. Daynes told Breck that he worked for the US government and promised him riches via a non-existent computer business.
In a statement outside court, Crown Prosecutor Jenny Hopkins said: “Our case was that Lewis Daynes, even though he was only 18 when he committed Breck’s murder, was a controlling and manipulative individual who carefully planned this crime. He groomed Breck online using their shared interest in computer games and over a period of months he manipulated Breck, turning him against his family.”
She continued: “A month before the tragic event of Breck’s death, Daynes was clearly organising and planning, buying duct tape and other items online. He gave Breck a mobile phone and also sent instructions by text on the lies Breck should tell his family so he would be able to visit Daynes’s home in Grays, Essex. We have seen cases where young people have been groomed online but it is rare for it to culminate in such a dreadful and violent murder.”
Ms Hopkins concluded: “The degree of planning and manipulation by Daynes is shocking and when you consider the young ages of perpetrator and victim, it stands out as one of the most cruel, violent and unusual cases we have dealt with.”
Photographs: Essex Police/PA