Kayleigh’s Love Story to go online on 3 January

A film about how a 15-year-old Leicestershire schoolgirl was groomed online by a stranger and subsequently raped and murdered will be made available to watch online next week.

Kayleigh’s Love Story was made to serve as a warning of grooming and sexual exploitation to children and parents following the tragic death of Measham’s Kayleigh Haywood in November 2015.

Since September this year, Leicestershire Police has been showing the film to secondary schoolchildren in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland in tightly-controlled screenings run by a team of eight, specially-trained Police Community Support Officers.

But at 9am on Tuesday January 3, the five-and-a-half minute film will be made available for public viewing on Leicestershire Police’s website, YouTube channel and Facebook account.

A signed version, an audio described version and versions of the film translated into five languages – Polish, Hindi, Guajarati, Urdu and Punjabi – will also available on the force’s YouTube page.

Since school screenings began in September, the film has been watched by more than 35,000 local pupils aged 11 and above. Following these screening, 35 “disclosures” have been made by children to the police and these are currently being investigated.

Although the film has not been publicly available since it was produced in March this year, it has already won three awards:

  • Gold award from the Royal Television Society (Midlands)
  • Gold award from Drum Cream; and
  • Bronze award from EVCOM.

Filmed over five days by Affixxius Films of Loughborough with a professional cast, the film tells how Kayleigh received an unsolicited message via Facebook from 27-year-old Ibstock resident Luke Harlow.

During the next 13 days, Harlow bombarded Kayleigh with messages containing expressions of bogus affection before she finally agreed to spend the evening at his house. She ended up staying there for some 36 hours before fleeing in the early hours, only to be pursued by Harlow’s neighbour 28-year-old Stephen Beadman.

A short while later, Beadman dragged Kayleigh into some nearby woods, where he raped and then murdered the schoolgirl.

Leicestershire’s Deputy Chief Constable Roger Bannister said: “Since controlled screenings of the film began, we have been overwhelmed by the positive reaction from children, parents, teachers and partner agencies.

“We have also been inundated with requests for the full version of the film from individuals and organisations throughout the world.

“What happened to Kayleigh was horrific but we are pleased that some good is coming from the awful tragedy and that this film is raising far greater awareness of the dangers of online grooming and the signs that it may be happening. They are signs that we can all look out for and do something about – before it is too late.

“We felt it was critical that we showed the film to local schoolchildren first, in structured screenings where our staff could discuss with children the issues raised by the film, before we made it more widely available. That said, we did release the film to all other police forces in the UK in the summer in order that they could also arrange specific screenings with partners and children before the general release date next week.”

Kayleigh’s Love Story is the centrepiece of an on-going Leicestershire Police campaign called CEASE which aims to eradicate the sexual abuse of children across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Since the campaign launch in February 2016, more than 21,000 people have signed the CEASE pledge, and so committing themselves to do what they can to protect children from being sexually exploited and abused.

Mr Bannister added: “The sexual exploitation of children is a growing threat in society and through the use of this film and the CEASE campaign we are hoping children and adults are becoming more aware of the dangers posed by predatory individuals and the signs that could indicate someone may be at risk.”

Have you pledged your support to the CEASE campaign? There are many ways you can show your support:

  • Sign our online pledge
  • Add our CEASE twibbon to your social media profile
  • Text CEASE to 87007 (texts will be charged at your standard message rate)
  • Sign a CEASE hand
  • Send a CEASE hand selfie to LeicsPolice via Snapchat.

Source:: Leicestershire Police News

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