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1 July 2016, 17:04
A landscape gardener who raped and murdered a 15-year-old Leicestershire schoolgirl after holding her prisoner has been ordered to serve at least 35 years behind bars.
Stephen Beadman, who raped Kayleigh Haywood and then battered her to death on farmland after she was lured to the home of his neighbour Luke Harlow, was handed a life sentence at Nottingham Crown Court.
The judge, Mrs Justice Cox, told Beadman: ``The pain, terror and anguish that would have been suffered by this young girl is truly horrifying to contemplate.''
Harlow was jailed for 12 years at the same court for grooming Kayleigh on Facebook and falsely imprisoning her at his house in Ibstock, Leciestershire, in the hours before her death.
The judge told both men: ``The case has shown once again the dangers to which young users of social media are exposed, to the grief and bewilderment of unsuspecting parents.''
Beadman, 29, and Harlow, 28, showed no emotion as the sentences were read out but there were cries of ``yes'' from the public gallery which was packed with members of Kayleigh's family, including her parents, Stephanie and Martin.
Many family members had been in tears as they heard the judge again describe how Kayleigh was groomed online by Harlow, who tricked her into going to his home without her parents' knowledge.
At the flat, he sexually abused her before inviting in his neighbour, Beadman.
The pair kept her captive for more than five hours, the judge said.
She said it may never be known exactly what went on in the flat during that time but, in the early hours of November 15 last year, Kayleigh ran out the house half naked, pursued by Beadman.
After a neighbour saw him pin her to the ground in the street, he took her across a road where he raped her before marching her for a mile-and-a-half across rough ground to where she was brutally killed.
The judge said Kayleigh had so many serious injuries to her face she had to be identified through her dental records.
She said: ``I am entirely satisfied on the evidence that she would have been acutely distressed and frightened.''
The judge added: ``She must have been absolutely terrified.''
The judge was told on Friday that police found child abuse images and extreme pornography on computers belonging to Beadman.
Officers also found that he had been searching for extreme pornography the day before he went round to Harlow's flat when Kayleigh was inside.
Beadman admitted murder and rape but denied holding Kayleigh prisoner.
But both men were found guilty earlier this week of falsely imprisoning Kayleigh.
Jurors were told that Harlow - a horror film fan who used the online name FunTimes and billed himself as a ``professional serial killer'' on Twitter - had pleaded guilty to grooming Kayleigh and engaging in sexual activity with her.
The former warehouse and bar worker also admitted attempting to meet two other teenagers after grooming them online.
On Friday, the judge sentencing Harlow described the messages he sent to all three girls as ``chilling''.
The court heard how he had used Facebook, WhatsApp and text messages to befriend Kayleigh, after vowing to ``kidnap and keep'' other girls during online conversations.
Prosecutor Miranda Moore QC said Harlow had tricked the girls into thinking ``they were his princess, his only one, he would look after them and care for them''.
The judge said both the girls he targeted, other than Kayleigh, said they were deeply traumatised by what had happened to them.
But the judge noted that both believed he was their boyfriend and one said she still loved him, which she said testified to the chilling nature of online grooming.
But the judge told Kayleigh's parents they should not blame themselves for not spotting the dangers of online grooming.
She said: ``It seems to me this is every parent's worst nightmare.
``It is absolutely clear to me absolutely no blame can be attached to them for what happened.''
After killing Kayleigh, Beadman, who told police he used a brick as a weapon, conducted a Google search for ``lime pit'' and used his computer to access a betting website.
The body of Kayleigh, from Measham, was found three days later, hidden in a hedgerow near a stream after an extensive police search involving more than 300 officers.
Kayleigh met Harlow for the first time after asking her father - who thought she was staying with her best friend - for a lift to Ibstock on November 13.
Gary Bell QC, defending Harlow, said his client did not know Beadman would kill the teenager but added: ``She should not have been put in the path of the monster that lived next door.
``She should have been home in bed.''
He said his client had been attacked in prison and had to spend all day locked in his cell for fear of further assaults.
Detective Superintendent Kate Meynell, from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, who led the investigation, said: ``The convictions for false imprisonment have given us an insight into the horrific circumstances in which Kayleigh died.
``I'd like to take this moment to echo the judge's comment and also recognise the immense courage, strength and dignity shown by Kayleigh's family - both during the initial investigation and throughout the subsequent court process.''
An NSPCC spokesman said: ``Kayleigh's tragic death is an example of the way the online world is increasingly being exploited by abusers.
``Young people face real threats on social media and it is vital we fight to keep our children safe online.
``Last week the NSPCC revealed more than 3,000 sex crimes using the internet were committed against children last year.
``It is vital that police are given the resources to tackle this rapidly developing 21st century crime.
``Parents can also seek advice through the NSPCC's Net Aware website and helpline, operated in partnership with O2, on 0808 8005002.''