This week saw the conclusion of the trial and sentencing of those responsible for the tragic murder of 15-year-old-school girl Kayleigh Haywood in Leicestershire last year. As the two men responsible begin their prison sentences a number of details of the case have been revealed. One detail in particular is something that all parents and schools should be very much aware of:
The grooming process took just two weeks from when Kayleigh started talking to Luke Harlow on Facebook to the day she travelled to his house before being attacked, raped and murdered. During that time they exchanged 2,600 messages, mostly by text.
This tragic case highlights the frightening speed and intensity with which the grooming process can happen. In doing so it also highlights the importance of parents and schools helping to educate children in being aware of the signs and dangers of the grooming process, how to spot warning signs and how to reduce exposure to risks.
Detective Chief Superintendent David Sandall or Leicestershire Police said ‘Kayleigh’s story demonstrates, in the most harrowing fashion, the ultimate potential consequences of children talking to strangers on the Internet and the very real threat of online grooming. I can only hope that we all, as parents, take note of what happened to Kayleigh. We need to understand that there are people within our communities who are using social media and digital media to beguile, to lure and to entrap children.’
Update: January 2017
Leicestershire Police have now released the full version of this video for free access: