A video charting the last two weeks of murdered teenager Kayleigh Haywood has been released to warn other children of the dangers of online grooming.
Police in Leicestershire have released a shocking film depicting the last two weeks of the life of murdered Leicestershire schoolgirl Kayleigh Haywood, who was raped and killed after being groomed online.
Kayleigh’s Love Story is a warning to young people about the dangers of talking to people they don’t know on the internet. Made with the support of Kayleigh’s loved ones, the five minute film – which would be classified 15 if shown in cinemas – charts the teen’s last days and aims to stop another family losing a child in this way.
On Friday 13 November 2015, 15-year-old Kayleigh Haywood was dropped off outside Ibstock Community College by her dad. She’d told her parents that she was staying overnight with a friend. In reality was she going to the home of Luke Harlow, 28, who’d spent two weeks grooming Kayleigh over Facebook and texts. In the 2,600 messages they’d exchanged, Kayleigh had come to believe Harlow was her boyfriend. He’d declared his love for her, told her he was beautiful and then and he’d persuaded her to lie to her parents and visit him overnight at his flat in Ibstock, Leicestershire.
At the flat, Kayleigh met Harlow and later his next door neighbour, Stephen Beadman, 29. She was abused and plied with alcohol and wasn’t seen again until the early hours of Sunday morning when a neighbour witnessed Kayleigh fleeing the property naked from the waist down. She was caught by Beadman, who took her off into the night, where he brutally raped her before murdering her with a brick. She was so badly beaten she had to be identified by her dental records. Injuries to Stephen Beadman indicated that brave Kayleigh had fought for her life.
Luke Harlow was jailed for 12 years after admitting sexual activity with a child and grooming. Kayleigh’s killer Stephen Beadman received a life sentence, with a minimum term of 35 years after admitting murder and rape. Both men were also convicted of false imprisonment.
More than 1 millon people watched Kayleigh’s Love Story in the first 24 hours of its release online. The film had already been shown widely to teenagers in Leicestershire and Rutland and released to every other police force in the UK for them to show to schoolchildren in their areas.
Deputy Chief Constable Roger Bannister from Leicestershire Police said: ‘To have reached so many people and for the film to have been seen by so many in such a short space of time is remarkable. It contains a really important message, a message for children and parents alike, and I believe it has the potential to keep many tens of thousands of children safe from the threat posed by predators online. I would urge everyone to watch it.’