“The life our big brother couldn’t live”: Sisters’ horrifying warning after their beloved sibling was killed by monster he met online
Chloe and Carly Bednar, who are backing The Mirror’s Christmas campaign for the NSPCC and Childline, warn about the dangers of the internet after their older brother was groomed then killed by depraved loner Lewis Daynes
Chloe and Carly Bednar aren’t home from school yet but their mum Lorin knows exactly where they are because she is tracking them through a mobile phone app.
Most teens would hate it but these 16-year-old sisters – triplets with their brother Sebastian – understand.
“We accept it,” they nod.
These two know far better than any child should what a dangerous place the world can be.
And not just the outside world but the world online – a world which has infiltrated their snug home and devastated it in the most unimaginable way.
Three years ago their big brother Breck, 14, was groomed online through the gaming sites he adored, by a stranger posing as a teenage gamer like him.
This new, faceless “mate”, who claimed to be a cool 17-year-old computer engineer running a multimillion pound tech company, turned out to be depraved loner – 19-year-old Lewis Daynes, who had previously been accused of raping a boy and possessing indecent images but never charged.
Daynes eventually lured Breck to his Essex home, bound him with duct tape, gagged him and stabbed him.
Finally, he slit the youngster’s throat, photographed his body and, in a sickening final act, sent the image to other members of their gaming group.
The triplets learned something was wrong while their dad was still being told the news by police in the next room.
Friends began to text them their horrified sympathies after seeing the photos. The siblings were then only 12.
Bravely giving her first newspaper interview with sister Carly, Chloe also reveals she was the last to speak to tragic Breck.
Unbeknown to her, she phoned him when he was at Daynes’ house hours before his murder.
Possibly, in that moment, Breck already had an inkling things weren’t right – she will never know.
It’s a heavy burden for her young shoulders to carry.
She says: “We were going to London and I needed my Oyster Card.
“I couldn’t find it so I rang and asked for his.
“He sounded normal but there was something he said which didn’t quite add up.
“He said something weird but I can’t remember what it was…” she sighs, her small face pained as she trawls her memory.
She adds: “We would never say ‘I love you’, it is something I wish I had said more now. I would have loved to have seen him as the 18-year-old he should be.”
Carly adds: “That is the most upsetting thing – the life he can’t live. We are older than him now.”
The pair have agreed to speak to back the Mirror’s Christmas campaign for the NSPCC and Childline to make young people and parents aware of the internet’s darker side and to urge internet companies, the Government and police to do more to help keep children safe.
“Just stop and think, question who you are talking to,” urges Carly. “Ask, ‘Is this real?’”
Chloe adds: “Ask yourself if this is true friendship or does this person want something from me?”
Online dangers have increased since Breck’s murder due to a rise in use of live-streaming apps and similar services on platforms such as Facebook.
Although Breck was not forced to share images, over a number of months he was brainwashed by Daynes, who sent him a mobile so they could communicate privately, and cash for a £100 taxi ride from Breck’s home in Caterham, Surrey, to his.
Although Lorin could never have guessed the whole terrible truth, she wasn’t oblivious to the dangers of an online stranger communicating with her son.
She was so worried – especially after Daynes refused to meet Breck and the family, in December 2013 – that she called 101.
But Surrey Police did not act. If they had they would probably have uncovered Daynes’ past.
Last year she was awarded compensation from the force and now tirelessly campaigns, through her charity the Breck Foundation, for increased awareness and action around online safety.
Carly and Chloe say they are shocked at seeing 11-year-old children with smartphones and concerned at how many of their mates accept unknown friendship requests. They limit their social media circles – and at home, Lorin turns the Wi-fi off at 9pm.
The girls loved to watch their brother gaming but Chloe recalls he didn’t like them being there so much once he started talking to Daynes.
Breck and his schoolmates joined a gaming group on Daynes’ server – he was the only one they didn’t know.
Breck would sit in his bedroom with numerous screens, headphones on, playing and chatting to him.
Lorin became wary after Breck began mentioning Daynes increasingly and refusing to do his chores, go to church and his beloved air cadets because “Lewis said so”.
Lorin tried confiscating Breck’s computers. That’s when evil Daynes sent the mobile phone.
In the half-term of February 2014, when Lorin was away and the children were staying with their dad, Breck said he was going to a schoolfriend’s to “build a server”. Actually, he was going to visit Daynes.
The girls recall the day before Breck’s funeral he would have turned 15, and the whole family visited his body to lay presents in his coffin.
“I gave him a Snickers,” smiles Chloe childishly, “because he loved them, but couldn’t have them because Carly is allergic to peanuts.”
Carly wrote him a poem. “It was about me not having an older brother any more,” she says, simply. “I read the poem to him and then put it in.”
Carly says she struggled with something close to depression.
For Chloe, that has come later and she has begun seeing a counsellor in the past year. “I still have a little cry at night sometimes,” she says.
“And when we go to Breck’s grave. I’ll say ‘Miss you Breck, love you’.”