Killer who raped and murdered 15-year-old schoolgirl dies while serving life sentence

Ellen Manning
Stephen Beadman, 34, has died in prison, where he was serving a life term  for killing 15-year-old Kayleigh Haywood in November 2015. (Reach)
Stephen Beadman, 34, has died in prison, where he was serving a life term for killing 15-year-old Kayleigh Haywood in November 2015. (Reach)

A man who raped and killed a 15 year-old schoolgirl after she was groomed online has died while serving a life sentence.

Stephen Beadman, 34, was serving at least 35 years in Wakefield Prison for murdering Kayleigh Haywood in November 2015.

Kayleigh, from the village of Measham, Leicestershire, was raped and murdered by Beadman after being groomed online by his next door neighbour Luke Harlow. 

Harlow was sentenced to 12 years in prison, while Beadman was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 35 years, meaning he would have remained in prison until at least 2050.

In a statement, The Ministry of Justice confirmed that Beadman had died in hospital on Thursday but did not reveal the cause of circumstances of his death.

The B-wing at Wakefield Prison, West Yorkshire. Prison staff at Wakefield, which holds 570 inmates, 70% of whom are serving life and 20% serving 10 years or more, were criticised for their 'disrespectful' attitude to offenders in their care. Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers found there was an 'extremely high' number of complaints from inmates about bullying, although they added that procedures to deal with the complaints were thorough.
Beadman died at Wakefield Prison, where he was serving a life sentence. (Getty)

A Prison Service spokesperson said: "HMP Wakefield prisoner Stephen Beadman died in hospital on April 8. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed.”

They added: "The Prison Service cannot confirm the cause of death, which is rightly a matter for the coroner."

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Writing on social media, Kayleigh's father Martin Whitby said it was the "best news ever". 

He wrote on Facebook: "Best news ever... the *** that killed my daughter is dead. Hope the *** rots in hell."

Kayleigh was groomed over a period of 13 days by Harlow, then 23, who exchanged 2,643 text messages with the youngster after they met online. 

Kayleigh spent the night at his flat in Ibstock on November 13, 2015, then the next day his next door neighbour Beadman, then 28, arrived and the pair plied the schoolgirl with drink.

She was sexually assaulted by Harlow before trying to escape, at which point she was chased by Beadman, who raped and murdered her before dumping her body in a farmer’s field.

Kayleigh's body was found five days later on the outskirts of the village. She had to be identified using dental records.

Leicestershire Police later produced a film titled 'Kayleigh's Love Story', which is shown to pupils in schools in Leicestershire and Rutland and across the UK to deter children and young people from falling victim to online sexual abuse and exploitation.

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