My boy’s killer… hiding in my house
A shadowy figure was controlling her son – and there was nothing lorin lafave, 50, could do to stop him
Peering into my son Breck’s room, I saw him at his computer. What a surprise! ‘Dinner soon,’ I said. ‘OK, Mum,’ Breck replied, turning to smile at me.
My eldest, he was a good lad. He loved his siblings – triplets Sebastian, Carly and Chloe – who were two years younger.
He did well in school, always did his homework. But his passion was computer games.
Now in Year 9, he’d been invited to join a gaming group online with some other boys.
The lads linked their computers, so they could play games together from home. I knew a lot of them from primary school.
Breck would always have his bedroom door open, so I could hear them talking about games and see their faces on screen as they talked through an Internet forum.
I kept strict control over the time he spent online – never past 9pm. By September 2013, when Breck was 14, I noticed one of the boys seemed to be in charge. ‘Who’s that?’ I asked, hearing what sounded like a man’s voice. ‘That’s Lewis,’ said Breck.
‘Do you know him?’ I asked. ‘No,’ replied Breck. ‘But the others do.’ I made a point of getting to know this Lewis. ‘Hi!’ I’d say into the camera. ‘Hi, Mum, how are you?’ he’d reply. He was more confident than the others, happy to chat. But he never let us see his face, wasn’t on webcam. ‘What does Lewis look like?’ I asked Breck. ‘How old is he?’ ‘Dunno,’ said Breck. ‘I’ll ask.’ Breck found out Lewis was 18, English but living in New York.
So why was he hanging out with a bunch of kids?
My instincts prickled. The fact he never showed his face made me suspicious. ‘Lewis might not be who he says he is,’ I warned my lad.
To put the boys’ minds at rest, Lewis gave them a quick flash of his face over webcam. It wasn’t clear, but he was plainly a teenage lad, not an old guy.
But then Lewis began peddling Breck crazy stories.
He boasted of donating £2.5 million to Syrian rebels, and said he’d previously worked for the US Department of Defense, so couldn’t reveal his identity.
Then he said he’d moved to London, about 35 miles from us.
Soon, Breck’s attitude began to change. By December 2013, if I asked him to eat with us or help with chores, he’d protest.
‘Lewis says boys my age shouldn’t have to do stuff like that,’ he said.
Livid, I spoke to Lewis on live-message, as Breck hovered.
‘It’s hard for me when you try and tell me how to raise my son,’ I said.
‘You’re holding him back,’ he said, not letting me see his face.
And soon we were having a full-blown argument!
Two days later, Breck showed me a letter on his computer, questioning everything I asked him to do.
At the bottom, it said Written and edited by Lewis Daynes.
I was angry, but mostly worried. This Lewis, whoever he was, was brainwashing my son, but Breck wouldn’t accept that.
So, on 17 December 2013, I called Surrey Police.
‘I think my son’s being groomed,’ I said.
I gave them Lewis Daynes’ name, age and whereabouts. But I heard nothing back.
So I banned Breck from going on his computer. ‘OK,’ he said meekly.
I also arranged a meeting with the boys in the gaming group, and some of the parents.
I said that, as we didn’t know who Daynes was and he wouldn’t meet us or show his face, we had to stop any communication with him. Everyone agreed.
After Christmas, I let Breck have his computer back.
‘But no contact with Daynes!’ I said firmly.
‘OK, don’t worry,’ he agreed.
Then, in January 2014, Breck’s school gave an assembly on Internet safety.
‘How was it?’ I asked Breck when he got home.
‘So boring, Mum,’ he replied, rolling his eyes like
This lewis, whoever he was, was brainwashing my boy
i was shocked when i saw the photo in the papers
a typical teenager.
Soon it was February. Breck was going on a school Spanish exchange trip.
I was due to go to Spain, too – to Madrid for a week, to teach English. We hugged as Breck left for the airport.
‘I love you!’ I told him. ‘Love you, too, Mum,’ he said. On 15 February, Breck returned to his dad.
But, two days later, my ex-husband texted: Breck hasn’t come home and he’s not answering his mobile.
I phoned him immediately. He said Breck had stayed at his friend’s the night before, then hadn’t been seen since.
I rang round the parents of Breck’s friends – finally learned he was with Lewis Daynes.
I went cold with dread, calling everyone I could think of to find where Daynes lived. But then my ex called.
‘I don’t know how to say this,’ he said. ‘Breck’s been murdered.’
I could hear myself screaming...then I was on the floor of my hotel room. I couldn’t see or hear, as if I was shutting down.
I flew home in a daze, was met by police. They said Breck had been killed at Daynes’ flat in Grays, Essex.
His body had been found when Daynes called them to report ‘an accident’.
We cried for weeks, desperate to understand.
Breck was buried on his 15th birthday – 17 March 2014. We sang Happy Birthday, released 15 lanterns.
The triplets, then 12, each designed a cake, blew out the candles together.
In the run-up to the trial, more horrors emerged...
Daynes had lured Breck to his flat with promises of teaching him computer wizardry.
He’d even paid for a taxi from our house to his flat at 7am on the Sunday morning.
I saw a photo of Daynes in the papers. With his red face and brown hair, I was shocked how young, how childlike, he looked.
But, most of all, I felt sickened looking into his eyes.
In September 2014, I saw Daynes, 18, on video-link at the Old Bailey. He pleaded not guilty to Breck’s murder. He claimed he’d accidentally stabbed Breck while trying to stop him from taking his life. Lies…
The prosecution said Daynes used duct tape to bind Breck’s wrists and ankles, then knifed him in the throat. Breck died within seconds.
Daynes then showered and changed before dialling 999.
He’d sent photos of Breck’s body to two other gamers shortly after killing him.
On day two of the trial, Daynes
changed his plea to guilty.
Harder still, I found Daynes was on the Police National Computer and the Police National Database, following a previous allegation of rape against a teenage boy.
If the police had run his name through the system when I’d reported him, they could have saved Breck.
Giving Daynes a life sentence, with a minimum of 25 years, the judge said, ‘I’m sure that this murder was driven by sadistic or sexual motivation.’
In time, we had an apology from the police for failing to investigate my concerns.
The pain of losing my firstborn never goes away, but the triplets keep me going. They’re amazing.
I’ve also started The Breck Foundation, giving talks to schools and attending conferences to educate on the dangers of online grooming.
In helping others, it helps me feel that Breck still has a voice.
Guilty: Babyfaced Daynes
My lovely son, good at school, into computers...
Buried on his birthday