Another nightmare for parents of Daniel Morcombe after their grandson, 6, was targeted by a ‘sex predator’ on a popular children’s game – as the couple issue an urgent warning every parent needs to hear
- Daniel Morcombe reveal their grandson targeted online
- Paedophile attempted to groom him on Roblox
The parents of murdered schoolboy Daniel Morcombe have revealed how their six-year-old grandson was recently targeted by a ‘paedophile’ online in a horror incident that re-opened old wounds.
Winston was playing Roblox on his iPad in the backseat of their car when he mentioned that a man had been sending him messages.
The couple, who now devote their lives to child safety, were immediately suspicious.
‘Winston said Nana, Pa, this person knows my name. We just looked at each other and said: Oh okay,’ Denise Morcombe told 7News.
‘That doesn’t sound great,’ Bruce Morcombe added. ‘That smells like a paedophile online trying to groom Winston and we were pretty frightened.’
Daniel Morcombe (pictured) was abducted and murdered on December 7, 2003, on his way to buy his family Christmas presents
Upon checking the message history they discovered the man had offered to help Daniel’s nephew improve his gaming skills.
While it may seem innocent on the surface, the Morcombes say that’s often a typical grooming tactic used by sex predators to gain trust.
The couple screen-captured the chat history, blocked the user and informed police.
They also sent the user a message: ‘Stop contacting kids you online creep’.
But despite the horror ordeal on the game played by millions of Aussies kids, Mr Morcombe warns parents against banning their kids from playing online.
‘Don’t take the ipad away from them it’s not their fault.’
He says parents instead should look to disable chat features in games and take a few other precautions including keeping devices in common areas, keeping privacy settings on and be aware of who your kids are speaking to online.
Denise and Bruce Morcombe (pictured) have revealed how their six-year-old grandson was recently targeted by a paedophile online in a horror incident that re-opened old wounds
Winston was playing Roblox (pictured) on his iPad in the backseat of their car when he mentioned that a man had been sending him messages
What parents can do to protect kids online
The Morcombes warn parents against banning their children from online games or electronic devices.
Instead they recommend a few simple tips.
1. Disable chat features in games.
2. Keep devices in common areas where parents can supervise.
3. Keeping privacy settings on.
4. Be aware of who your kids are speaking to online.
The incident was a cruel reminder of the parents’ nightmare ordeal two decades ago when Daniel, 13, vanished after leaving his Sunshine Coast home on December 7, 2003, to buy his family Christmas presents at the local shopping centre.
Denise and Bruce spent years tirelessly working to keep the missing person investigation active until his killer was finally arrested in 2011.
Since their son’s disappearance, they have dedicated their lives to providing safety education to children through a foundation they launched in their son’s name.
Daniel was waiting at the bus stop when he was abducted by serial paedophile Brett Peter Cowan, then 34, and taken to an abandoned house where he was molested then strangled.
His disappearance sparked one of the biggest missing person investigations in Australian history, culminating in Cowan’s arrest eight years later.
The child killer subsequently led police to where he had dumped Daniel’s remains, and the teenager was recovered from bushland at Glass House Mountains in August 2011.
He was sentenced to life behind bars in Brisbane’s Wolston Correctional Centre in 2014, with a minimum non-parole period of 20 years.
Daniel was waiting at the bus stop when he was abducted by serial paedophile Brett Peter Cowan (pictured), then 34, and taken to an abandoned house where he was molested then strangled.
Cowan, now 53, remains an unpopular inmate due to his horrific crimes – which include an extensive rap sheet of child sex offences prior to Daniel’s murder.
The convicted paedophile has been the target of several brutal attacks at the hands of fellow inmates, including being doused with boiling water in 2016 which left him with permanent scarring.
In May 2018, he was stabbed in the ear and neck with an ‘improvised implement’ and suffered superficial injuries.
Cowan will be eligible to apply for parole in 2034.