“Murder Games” is a docu-drama produced by the BBC and first screened in the UK on the 26th of January, 2016. It consists of dramatized scenes alongside interviews and edited real life footage. It tells the story of young English boy named Brek Bednar who was killed as after being groomed by an eighteen yearr old online friend. The content of the documentary focuses directly on the way in which this person, Lewis, was able to manipulate Brek and his friends before eventually murdering the latter. As such, it presents the image of a young and highly intelligent boy who is manipulated into leaving both his friends and his family, before ultimately dying.
The documentary opens with Brek’s mother placing flowers on the his grave and speaking to him, saying that Christmas is extremely difficult without him. It then moves to a conversation with Lewis who phones the UK police and reports a young voice stating that the has “had an altercation a friend and that he is the only one who is still alive.” The documentary then features interviews with Brek’s school friends who all speak about his fun loving character, and his love for computers. Several home photographs are shown that depict Brek as a happy and smiling boy who is playing with a computer.
His friends then begin to discuss their encounters with Lewis and the ways in which he was able to impress them via his knowledge of computers and his ability to manipulate the gaming servers which they used. The individual friends also comment on the fact Brek was the most impressed, and that he was also the most capable computer programmer; something that Lewis was able to exploit in order to manipulate him. Brek’s friends speak of various claims that Lewis made in order to impress them, including the suggestion that he lived in New York and that he has ran his own software company. At the same time, the audience is informed that Lewis lived in a small flat in Essex and that he was deliberately targeting Brek because he had identified a young person that he could flatter and manipulate.
By re-enacting particular conversations between Brek and Lewis, the documentary shows the particular complements that the latter was able to give and the manner in which he was able to insinuate himself between Brek and his friends, and later between Brek and his family. In particular, the programme shows the precise way in which Lewis alienated Brek from his friends by insisting that they had been talking about him behind his back and that manner in which he was able to alienate him from his mother by insisting that she was an ignorant and selfish person. Although the programme shows that Brek’s mother was able to gain some degree of control by banning his computer equipment, it notes that this was not enough to save him and it is later revealed that Lewis subjected Brek to a barrage of emails in order to remain in control of him.
The final third of the documentary tells of Brek’s death, which involved the Lewis originally claiming that he had killed him in self-defence. It features interviews with local police officers who speak of their shock at the events that had taken place, as well as their immediate certainty that Lewis’s original story was false. The programme ends with Brek’s friends reporting on the fact that Lewis pleaded guilty to murder, and shows his mother visiting schools in order to warn children about the dangers that they face from online paedophiles who wish to groom young people. Finally, it shows a family gathering at Brek’s grave on this sixteenth birthday and features an interview with his mother in which she blames police neglect for her son’s death and insists that the only reason she is still alive is for the sake of her other children.