Police have released a harrowing video based on the grooming, rape and murder of 15-year-old Kayleigh Haywood, warning young people about the dangers of speaking to strangers online.
The five minute video, titled “Kayleigh’s Love Story” looks at the last days of Haywood’s life, showing just how quickly children can be groomed online without their parents being aware.
Haywood agreed to meet Harlow after the pair exchanged more than 2,600 messages over the course of 13 days, telling her parents she was staying at a friend’s house.
The teen was held against her will in Harlow’s flat by the man and his neighbour Beadman for two days before she was spotted fleeing in the early hours of November 15 2015.
But she was tragically recaptured by Beadman, who took her across a road and raped her. He then marched her to a field a mile and a half away, where he savagely beat the young girl to death.
In July 2016, Beadman was convicted of the rape, murder and false imprisonment of Haywood and was jailed for at least 35 years.
Harlow was also given a 12 year prison sentence. At the time of the teenager’s death, he had also been grooming two other girls.
The film, produced by Leicestershire Police, will be shown to schoolchildren across the country to highlight the importance of staying safe online.
In addition to versions for blind and deaf children, the video has been made in Urdu, Polish and Gujarati.
Police have also produced a leaflet for parents about the tell-tale signs of children who are being groomed.
The video was made with the support of Haywood’s family.
Leicestershire’s Deputy Chief Constable Roger Bannister told the Sun: “What happened to Kayleigh was horrific but we are pleased that some good is coming from the awful tragedy and that this film is raising far greater awareness of the dangers of online grooming and the signs that it may be happening.”
Leicestershire Police are asking the public to sign their online pledge to eradicate the abuse and sexual exploitation of children.