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

Pick Me Up! - - CONTENTS -

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.

So sick.

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

Sick­en­ing ev­i­dence

My lovely son, good at school, into com­put­ers...

Buried on his birth­day

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