Another nightmare for Daniel Morcombe’s parents after their grandson, 6, was targeted by a sex predator in a hit children’s play – as the pair issue an urgent warning every parent needs to hear
- Daniel Morcombe reveals their grandson targeted online
- Pedophile tried 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 pedophile online in a horror incident that reopened old wounds.
Winston was playing Roblox on his iPad in the back seat of their car when he mentioned that a man had been texting him.
The couple, who now devote their lives to the safety of children, were immediately suspicious.
“Winston said Nana, Dad, this person knows my name. We just looked at each other and said, Oh okay,” Denise Morcombe told 7News.
“That doesn’t sound great,” added Bruce Morcombe. “That smells like a pedophile online trying to groom Winston and we were pretty scared.”
Daniel Morcombe (pictured) was kidnapped and killed on December 7, 2003 while on his way to buy Christmas presents for his family
Upon checking the message history, they found that the man had offered to help Daniel’s nephew improve his gaming skills.
While it may seem harmless on the surface, the Morcombes say this is often a typical grooming tactic used by sex predators to gain trust.
The pair filmed the chat history, blocked the user and informed the police.
They also messaged the man, “Stop contacting kids, you online ghoul.”
But despite the horrific ordeal of the game played by millions of Aussies children, Mr Morcombe warns parents not to ban their children from playing online.
“Don’t take the iPad away from them, it’s not their fault.”
He says parents should instead look to turn off chat features in games and take a few other precautions, including keeping devices in common areas, keeping privacy settings, and being aware of who your kids are talking to online .
Denise and Bruce Morcombe (pictured) have revealed how their six-year-old grandson was recently targeted by a pedophile online in a horror incident that reopened old wounds
Winston was playing Roblox (pictured) on his iPad in the backseat of their car when he mentioned that a man had been texting him
What parents can do to protect children online
The Morcombes warn parents not to allow their children access to online games or electronic devices.
Instead, they recommend a few simple tips.
1. Disable chat features in games.
2.Keep devices in common areas for parents to supervise.
3. Keep privacy settings enabled.
4. Be aware of who your kids talk to online.
The incident was a cruel reminder of the parents’ nightmare 20 years ago when Daniel, 13, disappeared after leaving his home on the Sunshine Coast on December 7, 2003 to buy his family Christmas presents in the local mall.
Denise and Bruce worked tirelessly for years to keep the missing persons investigation active until his killer was finally arrested in 2011.
Since their son’s disappearance, they have devoted their lives to providing safety education to children through a foundation they have established in their son’s name.
Daniel was waiting at the bus stop when he was kidnapped by serial pedophile Brett Peter Cowan, then 34, and taken to an abandoned house where he was harassed and then strangled.
His disappearance sparked one of the largest missing persons investigations in Australian history, culminating in Cowan’s arrest eight years later.
The child killer then led police to where he had dumped Daniel’s remains, and the teen was found in August 2011 in the bushland near Glass House Mountains.
He was sentenced to life behind bars at Brisbane’s Wolston Correctional Center in 2014, with a minimum non-parole period of 20 years.
Daniel was waiting at the bus stop when he was kidnapped by serial pedophile Brett Peter Cowan (pictured), then 34, and taken to an abandoned house where he was harassed and then strangled.
Cowan, now 53, remains an unpopular inmate due to his heinous crimes – including an extensive record of child crimes leading up to Daniel’s murder.
The convicted pedophile has been the target of several brutal attacks by fellow inmates, including being doused with boiling water in 2016, leaving him with permanent scars.
In May 2018, he was stabbed in the ear and neck with an ‘improvised tool’ and suffered superficial injuries.
Cowan is eligible to be paroled in 2034.