Kayleigh Haywood began speaking to Luke Harlow, a man she had never met, on 31 October 2015.
Over the course of 13 days they exchanged 2643 messages. Harlow told the 15-year-old all the things many teenage girls want to hear. He told her she was beautiful, how much he cared for her and that she was special.
Harlow was grooming Kayleigh, along with two other young girls he had also been speaking to. But it was Kayleigh that finally agreed to his requests to spend the night of Friday 13 November 2015 at his house.
She spent the next day with him too, and in the early hours of Sunday 15 November, having been held against her will by Harlow and by his next door neighbour Stephen Beadman, Kayleigh was raped and murdered by Beadman.
With the support of Kayleigh’s family, Leicestershire Police has made a film about aspects of the last two weeks of her life.
Kayleigh’s Love Story is as a warning to young people, both girls and boys, about the dangers of speaking to people they don’t know online. The film highlights just how quick and easy it can be for children to be groomed online without them or those around them knowing it is happening. Its purpose is to protect children now and in the future and to stop another family losing a child in this way.
It’s vital that young people understand the importance of staying safe online and parents can spot the signs that may indicate their child is being groomed. There is a fact sheet for parents that contains information about online grooming and the tell-tale signs and behaviours.