The parents of Breck Bednar, a 14-year-old boy who was murdered by a man he met online, have received a payout after an independent inquiry ruled their case had not been adequately handled at the time of reporting. Bednar was murdered in 2014 in a sexually motivated attack at the home of Lewis Daynes, 20, who is currently serving life in prison after a conviction in January 2015.
The victim's mother, Lorin LaFave had first contacted Surrey police in December 2013 after growing suspicious her son was being groomed online. However despite talking to the police and the filing of a report, the family said that no further action was taken.
It was roughly two months after contacting the police that Bednar left his home in Surrey to meet Daynes, 18-years-old at the time, at his flat in Grays, Essex, on 17 February. He was later found stabbed.
Following the tragic discovery, the victim's parents launched legal action against the Essex and Surrey police forces over their handling of the incident.
In the subsequent investigation, an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) inquiry found both the call handler and the supervisor on duty lacked sufficient knowledge about how to deal with grooming cases. The probe also said the police had failed to follow up or check the National Computer for background infomation on Daynes.
Announcing that a "settlement had been reached" in the complaint case, Surrey police said it "unreservedly apologises" and now accepts mistakes were made.
"As part of the settlement, Surrey Police have agreed to implement recommended changes to their procedures to ensure that other children like Breck are protected," it said in an official statement.
"Mr Bednar and Ms LaFave hope to work with Surrey Police in order to enhance awareness of the dangers that young people face online and to ensure that appropriate training is given to staff to assist in the prevention of similar crimes against children."