Kayleigh Haywood – a 15-year-old from Measham in Leicestershire – was messaged repeatedly by an unknown man – later revealed as Luke Harlow – over a period of two weeks.
She was persuaded to stay at Harlow’s house in Ibstock, where he plied her with alcohol and sexually assaulted her.
Then, in the early hours of November 15, 2015, Harlow’s neighbour, Stephen Beadsman, raped and murdered her after she made a desperate bid to flee.
Leicestershire Police have since made a five-minute LONG video – called Kayleigh’s Love Story – to warn of the dangers of grooming and sexual exploitation.
It was shown to 35,764 secondary school children across the county at 1,000 controlled screenings attended by a team of Police Community Support Officers last year.
“We are pleased that some good is coming from the awful tragedy”
Roger Bannister, Leicestershire police
The recreated story – which would have been given a 15 had it be shown in cinemas – led to 35 children coming forward and reporting possible cases of grooming to officers.
In the multi-award-winning film – which has now been made public – an actress playing Kayleigh receive a string of affectionate messages from Harlow on social media.
She is seen meeting up with the 28-year-old at his home before Beadman, 29, assaults her and dumps her body in a wood.
On April 5, 2016, Harlow pleaded guilty to grooming and two counts of sexual activity and was found guilty of false imprisonment following a trial at Nottingham Crown Court on June 28, where he also admitted grooming two separate girls.
He was jailed for 12 years.
Beadman pleaded guilty to rape and murder on April 5, 2016 and was also found guilty of false imprisonment on June 7, when he was given a life sentence in which he will serve a minimum of 35 years.
Leicestershire’s deputy chief constable Roger Bannister said: “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.
JUSTICE: Stephen Beadsman was jailed for life for raping and murdering the teen
“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.”
The film – made with the support of Kayleigh’s parents Stephanie and Martin – is part of the force’s CEASE campaign which aims to stop the sexual abuse of children across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.