Just How Can We Keep Our Children Safe from the Dangers P of the World Wide Web? Lessons Should Be Learned from Tragic Ashleigh's Death; Lessons Should Be Learned from Tragic Ashleigh's Death: HOW Safe Is Your Child When They Are on the Internet? as the Nation Still Reels at the Murder of Teenager Ashleigh Hall, MARIE TURBILL Asks How We Can All Better Protect Our Children
Byline: MARIE TURBILL
WHEN 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall excitedly left her Darlington home she had no idea of the danger that lay ahead.
She believed she was off to meet a 19-year-old boy, befriended on the internet, but sexual predator, Peter Chapman, was hatching his evil plot.
After a month-long facade of lies the 33-year-old, formerly from Stockton, tricked the teenager into his car, driving her to a secluded lay-by where he raped and killed her.
Chapman is now serving a life sentence, but that comes as little consolation to the family who are suffering their own life sentence without their precious daughter, sister and grandaughter, Ashleigh.
Theirs is a story that strikes fear into the heart of any parent - particularly as the internet plays such a big part in our, and our children's, daily lives.
On a world wide web that seems impossible to regulate, how can we ever truly protect our families? "This is a very real threat," says Jonathan Wheatley, managing director of Stokesley-based IT firm MC Ware, and security and forensics consultancy, HD Forensics.
He gives talks about the potential dangers of the internet, at the same time not wanting to put people off using it.
He considers the web an amazing tool, unparalleled for research and learning.
But in the wrong hands it can, and is, being used for malice, and in Chapman's case, pure evil.
The 33-year-old met Ashleigh, pictured inset right, through networking site Facebook under the alter ego of a 19-year-old boy.
He built up a friendship with the teenager, before they exchanged mobile numbers and then finally arranged to meet.
IT expert Jonathan says: "What is upsetting is this attention, from who she thought was a teenage boy, must have been really welcome to her. …