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17th Jan 2017

16-Year-Old Girl Found Dead After Going To Meet An Online Date

Cassie Delaney

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after the body of 16-year-old Leonne Weeks was found in South Yorkshire.

Friends of the teen confirmed that she was on her way to meet an online date. An 18-year-old man is currently detained.

A friend of Leonne spoke to The Daily Mail saying:

“I used to be neighbours with her and know her really well – she’s a good mate of mine is Leonne.”

“We don’t know what’s happened, all we know is she went to meet someone – meet a bloke – and now her body has been found. She met him off the internet – one of those dating sites.”

Leonne’s body was discovered yesterday by members of the public at 10.55am. The teenager had been missing since the night before and friends and family had taken to social media to try find her.

Just over a week ago, Leicestershire Police released a video detailing the rise of online grooming and the danger many young internet users face by using dating apps.

The video depicts the 2015 murder of Kayleigh Hardwood who was brutally raped and murdered by a stranger after meeting him online.

In October of that year, the 15-year-old girl received a Facebook message from a man she had never met. Luke Harlow began messaging her with things like ‘‘I can’t wait to meet you :) xxxxx’ and ‘Do you wanna be my girl?? xxxxx.’ Before the young girl’s murder, 2,643 messages were sent between them.

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.

The film follows the final two weeks of Kayleigh’s life and how she was groomed by Luke Harlow and neighbour Stephen Beadman.

Speaking about the campaign, Leicestershire Police said

”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.”