Home   Deal   News   Article

Snapchat urged to identify person sending threats to family of murdered Deal teenager Breck Bednar

ByEleanor Perkins

The mother of a murdered 14-year-boy says a social media site must help police in identifying who has sent sick threats to her family.

Chloe Bednar, 17, is the younger sister of Breck Bednar, who was killed in 2014 after being groomed through online gaming by Lewis Daynes.

In a twisted turn of events, the A-Level student who goes to school in the district, began receiving vile messages on Snapchat in January from someone claiming to be her brother’s killer.

WATCH: Mum's anguish at threats family

Dozens more have followed, with threats to desecrate Breck’s grave and harm her family.

Other messages recount her brother’s murder in graphic detail and include images of skeletons and coffins - with the despaired teen forced to delete her account and set up another.

Now, her mum Lorin LaFave, who moved to Deal in 2016, is urging the site to work with police to help identify the culprit after she claims she was told it could take at least 10 months.

She told KentOnline: “It's scary, it's threatening. We shouldn't be having to deal with this.

"It’s someone continuing to harm us after we’ve already suffered the worst possible crime.

“The police don’t have the powers to force social media to give up this information.

Breck and his sister
Breck and his sister

“But we need social media sites to take responsibility, not protect and harbour criminals.

“By not doing this they are enabling them to continue doing this.

“We must insist that laws are changed to give more power to police to act and investigate quickly and to force Snapchat and others to co-operate with police matters.”

The family believe the correspondence could be coming from Breck's killer, after Mrs LaFave claims he previously contacted by her via Twitter in 2015 and 2016.

But they say it might be somebody who looks up to Daynes, who pleaded guilty to the crime and is five years into his 25- year sentence.

Ms LaFave said: “My daughter was 12 when Breck was murdered and she’s now going through her A-Levels.

An example of the messages sent to Breck's sister via Snapchat
An example of the messages sent to Breck's sister via Snapchat

“It’s given her anxiety. Some messages came at bedtime and that’s difficult for her, especially with her studies.

"She asks herself who this could be and what they’re capable of. It’s upsetting.

“It's a twist of the knife, bringing up all the bad memories of what happened to poor Breck.

“She’s a child. She’s trying to deal with who she is and what she’s going to be and she has to deal with this.”

Ms LaFave has contacted MP Charlie Elphicke, who has teamed up with Surrey MP Chris Philp, where Breck’s father Barry lives, to help the family.

They have raised their serious concerns about the case with Kent Police’s chief constable Alan Pughsley and Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott.

A disturbing message sent to Chloe
A disturbing message sent to Chloe

Mr Elphicke said: “The content of these messages is vile and deeply distressing for Breck’s family.

"Chloe is just 17 years old and still grieving her brother’s death.

“Social media giants like Snapchat must do more to help the police bring the culprits to justice.

"Otherwise sick trolls will continue to pour out this poison without fear of punishment.

“The social media companies provide the platform for these twisted individuals to spew their hatred. It’s time they took responsibility – and put a stop to it now.”

They have urged police to contact Snapchat in order to obtain information about the device, account and user identity from which the messages were sent.

They are also calling on Snapchat to immediately release the information to the police.

MP Charlie Elphicke met with Lorin LaFave and Barry Bednar at his Westminster office
MP Charlie Elphicke met with Lorin LaFave and Barry Bednar at his Westminster office

The MPs have also raised their concerns with Sajid Javid, the home secretary, who has written to Snapchat asking what action is being taken by the company.

Despite her experiences and the desire to protect her children as best she can, Ms LaFave says she cannot and does not want to stop them for using the web.

Since her son’s death she has channelled her energy into The Breck Foundation which works to educate young people on how to be safe online, with workshops in schools, conference and training.

She said: “I have to accept that children and teenagers are all online.

“My triplets are 17 and they will interact online. If I was to take them off then they wouldn’t have a life.

“It’s a basic right for someone to interact with their friends online.”

Police confirmed the force received a complaint about malicious communications.

A spokesman said: "Enquiries into the matter remain ongoing."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More