National Stalking Awareness Week
Posted Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 12:13
Given that it is NSAW, I thought I should try and answer in this blog-post a frequently asked question and to highlight, during this important week, a few aspects of stalking that many fail to comprehend.
As this is an election period I am restrained by law. My own stalker has left his family behind in Surrey and moved across three counties to live in my constituency and actively campaign against me.
I can only quote the facts, not my opinion, or detail any emotional content or impact. My experience of being stalked by him has already been detailed in the Mail On Sunday, the Beds Times & Citizen and the Telegraph.
The question I am asked most often is “Why isn't your stalker in prison?” There are two reasons for this:
This article in the Independent on Sunday last weekend helps a little when it comes to explaining the first. Only one percent of all stalking cases are prosecuted. The CPS has called upon all prosecutors to undergo training in implementing the new anti-stalking legislation that was introduced in Dec 2012.
For the second reason it is necessary to explain, using facts only, examples of the stalking methods used on me and others. If you read how my stalker behaves and orchestrates others you will immediately see that he is an expert when it comes to avoiding prosecution, often by using others to harass his targets. That is one reason why it is so difficult to obtain a prosecution.
Here are ten examples that demonstrate his Modus operandi.
1. A constituent in Mid-Beds once innocently mentioned on Twitter how she had seen me out delivering leaflets in her street. She was immediately targeted by my stalker. He didn't know her but subjected her to cyber-abuse and bullying. If she hadn't been as strong a person as she was he could have seriously frightened and upset her.
2. My stalker bombarded a member of my team with emails of a very personal nature. One alarmed her so much that she forwarded it to her husband, who is a doctor working for the NHS.
It was an email in which the stalker revealed he had been “researching her” and he boasted about contacting people she had worked with more than twenty years previously in order to obtain personal information about her. He provided examples of everyday information he had gathered from her distant past. He terrified her. She handed in her notice that day and left.
My stalker then wrote a blog stating that she moonlighted in the NHS while working for me, which was not true. The reality is that he had put a tracer on her email that showed him where it had been forwarded to. He saw that it had been opened by an NHS computer and drawn the wrong conclusion.
3. Three years ago, a young Labour Party activist who was at school with my daughter was asked by the girlfriend of my stalker to find out personal information about my daughter from her teachers and friends and to pass it back to her. The woman wanted grades, behaviour, movements and any other information he could extract from conversations with my daughter’s teachers. The young man later left the Labour Party and nine months ago he interned with me briefly in Westminster.
I only discovered this information last year and, had I known earlier, the outcome may have been very different. My stalker’s girlfriend had crossed a serious line but the police said the legal time frame of six months in which they could have acted had passed.
4. My stalker also obtained the telephone number of a young BBC researcher working on a television programme I had appeared on. He began to harass her on the phone and on Twitter. I was informed about this by a well-known presenter of the show who was deeply concerned. He asked me for information to help the BBC deal with my stalker and his behaviour towards the young researcher.
5. In a parliamentary debate, I mentioned a professor at Bedfordshire University. My stalker then began frequently contacting the professor’s research assistant, who had just had a baby. He repeatedly demanded to see her research work even though he had no reason or right to. The professor rang me from China, where he was presenting a lecture, to voice his concern.
6. The former group editor of the Bedfordshire on Sunday newspaper had to telephone my stalker and warn him to stop harassing his journalists. My stalker had demanded that the newspaper print stories about me, which he fabricated and dictated to them. When the newspaper editor refused my stalker began harassing the editor. In the words of one of the journalists: ‘These are stories which fall to dust in our hands the moment we investigate. He is fixated with you.’
7. The LBC broadcaster Iain Dale, who is also a friend of mine, occasionally mentioned me on his very successful blog. My stalker began to cyber-abuse and harass him, followed up with aggressive personal phone calls. This included telephoning him forty times in twenty minutes. The police admit they dropped the ball on that one and, if the legal time limit hadn’t passed, they could have had him in court.
8. Last year I received an email from a constituent informing me that my stalker had moved across the country and was living in a house not far from my own. The email said that my stalker had lost his wife, his family and his home.
He had called a meeting in a pub with what were described as “like-minded people” he had met on the internet. One was Richard Bartholomew, a well-known accomplice of my stalker. He presented the meeting with what appeared to be copies of my bank statements, contracts and personal financial transactions. Again, my stalker uses others for the more risky elements of his stalking. The person who sent the email about this wrote: “please confirm receipt of this email so I know you are aware of any potential dangers posed by [the stalker] and can put my own mind at rest for now.”
9. A pregnant journalist re-tweeted a message I had posted on Twitter. She then opened an email my stalker sent her. It contained software that gave him access to her computer.
He then he bombarded her with aggressive telephone calls on her mobile phone and read to her emails she had had sent, letting her know that he could see what she was writing on her computer. This terrified her. She begged him to stop because she was pregnant. He told her she was using her baby as a human shield. She went to into premature labour.
10. My stalker turned up at a constituency hustings in 2010 and disrupted the entire meeting, forcing me to leave.
I could continue for thousands of words, highlighting one example after another. My stalker does not directly deny all of the above but instead uses his girlfriend to accuse me of “defaming” them both, or uses other tactics to obfuscate reality.
My stalker has been investigated for more than a decade by at least four police forces, who have gathered witness statements from scores of people, including victims whose stories I have not included here.
Following on from the Mail on Sunday article, I was contacted by a number of his victims. One had been targeted for no other reason that he was a Roman Catholic living in the same village as my stalker.
He wrote: ‘When my wife and I read your article in the paper, there were tears running down my wife’s face. This man blighted our life for seven years, for no other reason than our faith.’
Sadly the more high profile you are as a woman, the more likely you are to be stalked by others like him. Here is another case where the CPS let a woman down badly.
Indeed, as Paladin’s CEO Laura Richards tells me, everyone has a way to go when it comes to stopping stalkers. But the promising thing is that thanks to her work we are getting people to recognise that this is a huge problem causing not only misery to the stalker’s target, but also everyone around them.
My family and I have endured this man’s stalking for seven years. Before that he did the same to another female MP for three years. Last year he tweeted about shooting me in the head and raping another Conservative MP. I have been informed my stalker is now a scout-master in Mid Beds at the group nearest to my home.
To everyone reading this who knows what it is like to be stalked I want you to know that you are not alone any more. We can and must work together to combat this horrible and cowardly crime. I know that in the case of my stalker, for example, that I can pick up the phone and talk to his other victims when I am feeling down. Together we are stronger.
0207 840 8960
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
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