A five-minute film which details the harrowing final weeks of Measham teenager Kayleigh Haywood, before she was murdered, has prompted more than 50 victims of grooming to report their abuse to police.
In November 2015, the community was left shaken when the body of missing Ashby School pupil Kayleigh was found. After her killer and a man who groomed her were jailed, Leicestershire Police created a video about the case in the hope of raising awareness about the dangers of online grooming. The powerful short film about what happened to the 15-year-old, which was backed by her family.
It has now been seen more than 36 million times in just over a year and its impact has seen it win a string of awards, as well as being placed in the National Film Archive.
After it was shown to more than 55,000 schoolchildren between September 2016 and March last year, 50 youngsters approached officers to make disclosures as a direct result of the screenings with investigations opened into some of those suspected of committing offences against children.
Leicestershire Deputy Chief Constable Roger Bannister said at the time: "We made the film to raise greater awareness of the dangers posed to children by predators operating online and the most important statistic is that it led directly to 50 children in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland coming forward and making disclosures to us.
"Those disclosures enabled us to safeguard those children – something that may not have happened without this film.
"To win awards for our work is of course extremely rewarding – enormous care and effort went into the making of the film and the decision about how we should show it to children in small, supervised screenings in school.
"To learn that the BFI now intend to preserve the film in the national archive is hugely satisfying, and helps create a permanent legacy for an inspirational piece of work that was born from the bleakest and most tragic of circumstances.
"I hope Kayleigh’s family can feel some consolation that their daughter’s legacy will help keep children throughout the world safe for generations to come."
Kayleigh was groomed by Luke Harlow, 27, over 13 days, before spending the night at his flat on November 13, 2015.
The following day Harlow’s next door neighbour Stephen Beadman, 28, arrived and the pair plied her with drink.
She was sexually assaulted by Harlow before trying to flee, at which point she was chased by Beadman who raped and murdered the schoolgirl before dumping her body in a farmer’s field.
Harlow pleaded guilty to grooming and sexually assaulting Kayleigh, and to charges that he attempted to groom two other teenage girls. For his part, Beadman pleaded guilty to raping and murdering the schoolgirl.
But both men denied having held Kayleigh against her will, and following a trial at Nottingham Crown Court in June 2016 they were both convicted of this offence too.
Harlow was sent to prison for 12 years, and Beadman was sentenced to life, with a recommendation that he must serve at least 35 years before he can be considered for release.
Made with the support of Kayleigh’s family, the film, by Loughborough’s Affixxius Films, was created with the help of experts in the field of child protection.
It was then rolled out across schools in Leicestershire for children aged 11 and above.
Since its release the film has won a string of awards including;
- EVCOM: Platinum Award for best in awards film
- 2017 EVCOM: Gold award in the Social Media category
- 2017 EVCOM: Silver award for Laures
- 2017 EVCOM: Bronze award for Charity and Not for Profit category
- 2017 ROYAL TELEVISION SOCIETY MIDLANDS: Gold Award, Best Promotional Programme
- 2016 DRUM CREAM: Best Digital: Online Video/Film/Viral Advert or Campaign
- 2016 EVCOM: Bronze, Social Screen category of the Clarion Awards