Every parent should watch this harrowing film about online grooming

Kayleigh Haywood began speaking to Luke Harlow, a man she had never met, on 31 October 2015

Kayleigh Haywood began speaking to Luke Harlow, a man she had never met, on 31 October 2015

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A chilling film telling the story of tragic teenager Kayleigh Haywood was viewed more than a million times within 24 hours of being released online.

Kayleigh, 15, was raped and killed by landscape gardener Stephen Beadman in November 2015 after being bombarded with messages on Facebook and other social media sites for around two weeks by 28-year-old Luke Harlow.

The film - called Kayleigh's Love Story - deals with aspects of the last fortnight of her life and warns parents and children of the dangers of online grooming.

The five-minute short, which has been given a 15 certificate, was made with the support of Kayleigh's parents and was released on Tuesday via Facebook and YouTube.

Leicestershire Police, who produced the film, said more than 1.3 million people had watched the film as of Wednesday morning.

Deputy Chief Constable Roger Bannister said: "To have reached so many people and for the film to have been seen by so many in such a short space of time is remarkable. It contains a really important message, a message for children and parents alike, and I believe it has the potential to keep many tens of thousands of children safe from the threat posed by predators online."

Last July, Beadman, then 29, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape, false imprisonment and murder of the teenager, while Harlow was given a 12-year jail term for false imprisonment and grooming.

Barnardo's chief executive Javed Khan said: "This is a distressing film about the consequences of speaking to and meeting strangers online.

"Every child and young person needs to learn from Kayleigh's story to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again.

"It is essential children are taught about healthy relationships in schools from an early age."