Breck Bednar was groomed and murdered online by a fellow gamer in a tragic real-life story revealing the dark world of online gaming.
Breck was groomed by Lewis, but not by stereotypical or traditional standards. Breck’s groomer was only a few years older than him. But the case shows a clear trail of manipulation, conning, and lying, with sexual intent behind the cascade of lies and impersonations, which is akin to grooming.
Breck was a young English-born Surrey schoolboy with American parents. He was gifted, brilliant, intelligent, handsome, and had the world at his fingertips. The tragedy of such a talented boy having his life cut short by the manipulative inner workings of a psychopath is gut-wrenching.
Breck was immersed in the online gaming world, like most kids of his generation. Breck’s parents saw nothing wrong with this. It gave Breck a social life (albeit a virtual one), and the kids that Breck socialised with were funny, intelligent, witty, and really on Breck’s level. However, they had a ringmaster. A leader of sorts. The older boy who ran the chat room was Lewis Daynes, the server’s administrator.
And this was a very abnormal boy.
Breck was a kind, generous, smart, and loving boy. Lewis Daynes was the opposite. He is a callous, evil, nasty, vindictive piece of work with sexual perversion and hatred running through his blood; his actions demonstrate that.
This is an unfortunate tale of evil conquering good.
Daynes began talking to Bednar through the gaming network that Daynes administrated. He told Bednar that he was a computer engineer, lived in New York, worked for the secret service in the USA, and was extremely rich—far-fetched, yes, but no more far-fetched than the average English schoolboy recalling the supermodel that he met on holiday, who goes to a different school and doesn’t have social media - we've all had a friend like that.
Unfortunately, Breck bought Lewis’ lies, even though many of his friends showed scepticism.
The reality was that Lewis Daynes was an unemployed 18-year-old living in Essex (a few counties away from Surrey). He was previously accused by the police of raping another young boy, possessing child pornography on his laptop, and having a litany of attempts to groom and rape other children on his laptop. He was trying his luck with an American boy using the same tactics that he used on Breck.
Breck did not know the truth about Lewis and greatly admired this "tech guru" (inverted commas).
Breck became more and more convinced and influenced by Lewis’ anarchic ideology, his atheism, and his anti-establishment ethos, and was quoting Lewis directly to his mother in rebellious disobedience.
Daynes was Machiavellian in his approach to Breck. He told Breck that he overheard other members of the server shit-talking and badmouthing Breck. Clear tactics of divide and conquer. He isolated Breck from his mother, friends, and anybody else that could warn him of the hazards of this toxic individual.
LEAD UP TO MURDER
The lies that Lewis told Breck escalated. And Lorin LaFave (Breck’s mother) intervened to limit her boy’s contact with Daynes. She saw concerns, she saw patterns, and she had her worries. She contacted the police with Daynes’ name and asked for any information on him. But the police neglected to come back and mention the previous rape allegations and child pornography; this may well have cost Breck his life.
The parents did stage an intervention and took Breck’s computer away. This was how severely they were worried about Lewis Daynes. But Lewis couriered a phone to Breck and kept contact illicitly, behind the parent's back. Daynes had cult leader qualities, as he even managed to convince Breck to secretly tape-record conversations with his own parents.
Lewis Daynes made promises to Breck. Promises to take over his company. Promises of wealth and success. Promises of high-profile coding jobs in the software industry. Breck, unfortunately, was not at an age of cynicism, and his wide-eyed optimism was potentially his downfall.
Breck told his father that he was staying at a friend’s house for a few days. The dad, Barry Bednar, has shown extreme remorse and sadness for what happened next as he let his son go. But how can you predict this? How can you know? And what kind of dad would not want their son to go socialise in the real world when they dunk their heads in the virtual world so much?
Lewis paid for Breck to get a taxi to Essex, and Breck made his way to talk business with Daynes.
Breck was then murdered by Daynes. His throat was cut, and there was sexual assault.
It was awful.
Daynes uploaded the images of the carnage online - which is pure narcissism, and the images spread throughout the gaming community and made their way to Breck’s family before the police even knew about it.
No one knows exactly what happened.
We know the contents of the call that Daynes made for the police.
Daynes alleged that he tried to stop Bednar from killing himself, and in the struggle after Bednar came for Daynes with the knife, Daynes accidentally killed Bednar in self-defence.
However, Daynes’ actions suggest something more malevolent. He had recently purchased duct tape and condoms and submerged his laptop in water when the police arrived. It is obvious that he premeditated this murder and prepared for it.
Daynes still runs a blog from inside prison, where he professes his innocence, but Lewis also pleads guilty in court to first-degree murder.
If anybody is interested in this garbage blog, where he slanders the Bednar family and professes his innocence, then simply Google "Lewis Daynes Blog," but it’s all rubbish and deeply offensive.
Daynes was given a 25-year sentence for the murder, which means he could be out by the time he is 43 years old.
We can hazard a guess that Daynes tied Breck up, sexually assaulted him, stabbed and slashed him to death and then called the police to issue a strange confession over the phone.
The Bednar family has raised awareness of grooming online and campaigned with law enforcement to warn other parents of the potential of grooming. There is now a Breck Foundation, and the remaining family, including Breck’s mother Lorin LaFave, go into schools to lecture on the dangers of online grooming. There is an hour-long documentary on the BBC iPlayer about the killing. And lessons can be learned for others who worry about the dangers of the Internet. We now live in a virtual world, and with this brave new world come cowardly new dangers like Lewis Daynes.
Bednar’s sisters have received mocking Snapchat messages about Breck’s murder, and it is probably Daynes from behind bars. Not content enough with ruining the Bednar and LaFave families' lives, Daynes wants to continue to haunt them. But ultimately, with his young life thrown away and Lewis left rotting in a jail cell for the next 2-3 decades, the real clown in all of this tragedy is Lewis Daynes.