I didn’t know whether to write this post. I’m still not sure I want to, but I think that I should, for my own sanity, and also because if it helps one other person, then I’m happy. This is something I’ve not really spoken to anyone about, outside of the Police, my bosses, close friends and family. As it’s the subject of an ongoing investigation, I will just use an initial instead of a name.
My stalker was someone I met through a friend of a friend at university. We met once and only once, at an air show in 2010, with a group of friends and apparently I made enough of an impression for him to not leave me alone for the next 7 years.
People assume it’s an ex or a date, or someone through my blog. He’s not. I also want to make people aware that stalking doesn’t have to be someone physically following you, hiding in hedges etc…
As I said above, I met A once. (Not the A of Pretty Little Liars fame, but still awful)
It was with a group of friends at university and we all spent a maximum of 5 hours together on a day out. We had nothing in common, we would never have mixed in a normal situation and I had no interest in being friends with him. I made that very clear in my blunt Kate Jamieson like way. After that, the Facebook messaged began, the friend requests, the constant barrage of unwanted contact. Thank god he never had my phone number!
He gave up for a few months, then it would start again. Creepy messages full of information that I’d not made publicly available, which led to me deleting all of our mutual friends, fake twitter accounts sending me abusive, threatening messages for turning down his friendship, friends and family being contacted. I blocked every one… I had a police reference number at this point as I’d reported him for harassment.
To date, there are 19 Facebook accounts for A blocked, 27 Twitter accounts, 7 email addresses…
The Police have now classed this as online stalking.
It was on and off until last summer (2016), when it hit a new high. My blog email inbox was full, daily, with creepy messages, threats and abuse as well as phone numbers to call. I ignored every one, but saved screenshots of every account I’d blocked, every message I’d been sent. I now have 5GB of it. His mum eventually emailed me as he copied her in to one of these, for some unknown reason. I explained everything to her and told her to end it. She apologised wholeheartedly and said she didn’t realise what had been going on… It made no difference. He even contacted one of my friends from that same day out, as he was getting nowhere with contacting me. I thought about deleting my blog a number of times and just disappearing off the face of the earth, but then he’d have won.
I stopped sleeping, it made me ill, I wouldn’t post where I was going, I didn’t want to go and visit friends in Plymouth in case he was there, I was paranoid about living on my own and scared he’d turn up at my office, locking myself in daily. This wasn’t helped by the Police telling me that A had discussed wanting to kill me with his Dr’s… The only relief I found was on Kilimanjaro, where I had no phone, no emails, no access with the outside world and I could switch off. Unfortunately, the day I came down from the mountain I turned my phone on to another 27 emails.
I got the police involved once more. They contacted him 3 times (as he kept emailing me his phone number) and he refused to believe it was actually the police. Why would I report him?!
The Police gave me the following information, which is what I would advise anyone in a similar situation to follow.
Make No Contact
– People harassing you want a reaction. By not giving it to them, eventually they should get bored (if only)
– The Police should be the only ones to make contact, though I’m forever grateful to all the lads from work who offered to ‘have a word’ (not so helpful)
Keep Thorough Records
– Make a timeline.
– Keep screenshots of messages, label them by date, make sure the date is showing if you can.
Tell Other People
– Most people are reluctant to do this, but the support is needed.
– As well as this network, if people close to you are contacted, they know how to react/to keep the messages for the police.
– It also provides extra evidence in case it needs to go to court.
Increase Your Protection
– Whilst all of the harassment I received was over the internet, I was so paranoid that I would keep the details of my local police station on me at all times.
– I have all the relevant numbers still stored in my phone, including my liaison officer.
– Always make sure your personal social media settings are set to private.
– Don’t post where you are until after the event, unless you’re with a group of friends or relative safety.
The Police dealt with it as well as they could.
A was actually sectioned in a hospital, and due to a lack of mental capacity, they couldn’t formally charge him, but they managed to contact his consultant, and he’s only allowed online under supervision, until such time as he is deemed well enough to be aware of his actions. If it then continues, he will be charged. If he’s released, the Police will contact me beforehand, but it’s a long way off that I think.
“You must be so relieved it’s over” people say…
Honestly? I still have a sick feeling in my stomach whenever I log on to my social media channels, or check my emails, incase today is the day he pops up again. I’ve had nightmares where he turned up at my office. I’m still very cautious about posting when I’m visiting friends and family in Plymouth in case I see him or he’s been released.
These are the things people don’t consider.
One day I’m sure I won’t give it a second thought, but after 7 years of that BS I’m somewhat cynical.
If you want further information on what is classed as stalking and what to do if you think you’re being stalked or harassed, visit the Suzy Lamplugh Trust Website here.
A bit of a full on post perhaps, but I wanted to make people aware that the world isn’t always sparkly and fun.