Stalking - case studies

Our thanks go to Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Cheek of the DAISU (Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit) in Herts Constabulary for putting together this article. Stuart is Hertfordshire Police’s Stalking Lead and represents the force at a national level.

“Stalking offending can end in the most tragic and brutal ways imaginable with the stalker, often someone with a previous relationship with the victim, taking the life of the victim in an often selfish and final act of dominance and control.  I intend to highlight some offences of stalking which have tragically resulted in the murder of innocent victims. I will not refer to the names of any murderers in this blog as I do not intend to provide them with any further notoriety.  I will, however, use the names of the victims so that they are not forgotten and will continue to be remembered.”

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Alice Ruggles

Alice was murdered by her stalker in 2016 in Gateshead and was aged just 24.  This was following a relentless campaign of stalking by an ex-boyfriend using both cyber stalking, harassment, threats and turning up uninvited.  There were failings in the police response which included failure to identify exactly what was happening and failing to take appropriate action.

Her parents have since worked tirelessly to raise awareness of this offence and I have been very lucky to meet both of them when they presented at Herts Police HQ as part of a multi-agency learning event.

For more information on Alice and the work of her parents please visit: www.alicerugglestrust.org

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Shana Grice

Shana was just a teenager when she was murdered by her ex-boyfriend who had been stalking her.  His stalking had been physical and he had even put a tracker on her vehicle to monitor her movements and broken into her home.  Shana was actually issued with a fine by Police relating to one of the allegations that she had made and it was apparent that this resulted in her not reporting further incidents of stalking.  Shana was tragically killed in Sussex in August 2016 with the stalker being sentenced to serve life with a minimum 25 years.

 A failure to recognise the pattern of stalking offending was identify following a review which has led to more guidelines and advice to Police Forces across the UK identify best practice for stalking investigations.

Recent court results in Hertfordshire:

In Herts we have worked to improve quality of the policing response across all agencies and have recently completed the re-training of all frontline police officers, call handlers, Detectives and specialist DA investigators to improve awareness, knowledge and understanding of this offence and introducing a ‘think stalking first’ mentality.  

 The following links will take you to a couple of recent stalking court results achieved by the Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (DAISU) which is Hertfordshire’s specialist Police unit working in partnership to tackle Domestic Abuse offending:

https://bit.ly/2p0U3sR - stalker jailed for 2 years

https://bit.ly/2MxDs8i - Hatfield stalker

If you believe that you or someone you know is being stalked then firstly contact the police on 999 if you fear you are at imminent risk otherwise on 101 to report and/or seek advice and support:

If you reside in Hertfordshire then please contact the Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworkers (ISAC’s) on 03301 025811 (available 24/7) or email referrals@saferplaces.co.uk

 Or you can talk to Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline on 08 088 088 088

National services:

Paladin - www.paladinservice.co.uk

Suzy Lamplugh Trust/ National Stalking Helpline - https://bit.ly/2rb64eP