Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Woman rejects police apology after they failed to respond to her 125 reports of stalking


Helen Pearson contacted the police 125 times to report her stalker – but it wasn’t until she was stabbed with a pair of scissors that her complaints were taken seriously.

Suffering under a four-year campaign of tyranny under the helm of her neighbour, Joseph Willis, Pearson has finally received an apology from the police for not responding to the reports that could have stopped her being near-fatally stabbed by Willis in an Exeter graveyard.

However she says it is too little, too late. 

“We didn't need 125 crimes before an attack for the [stalker’s] face to be shown,” Pearson told the BBC.


Four out of five of every stalking victims are women

She continued to criticise police for failing to take her complaints seriously until after the violent attack occurred.

“I feel like that shouldn't have happened, it shouldn't have been like that,” said Pearson.

“All I can hope is that what happened to me means police officers get more training and deal with victims of stalking better - so that no-one else has to go through what I did.”

Read more: “I want to teach women that anything is possible”: domestic violence survivors from around the world speak out

Pearson said that she struggled to sleep under her stalker’s tyranny, as he slashed her car tires slashed, sent her threatening letters and even left a dead cat on her doorstep.

She continued: “Every night you go to bed and you don't know what is going to happen and you constantly live in fear. You see that there's no way the stalking is ever going to end.”

The onslaught of abuse got so bad that she admits that she considered ending her life on many occasions.

It is for this reason that she has rejected the police apology, insisting that they “didn't do anything”.

“[I am] still suffering every day because of what happened to me,” added Pearson.


80% of victims know their stalker

According to Laura Richards, the founder and director of Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service, stalking victims tend to endure up to 100 counts of stalking before they report it to the police

And Alexis Bowater, former chief executive of Network for Surviving Stalking, has stressed that stalking is called “murder in slow motion”

“Taking stalking seriously is murder prevention,” she added.

Read more: New law cracks down on domestic violence by UK citizens overseas

After an internal investigation, Devon and Cornwall police said that its “investigation and victim care did not meet the high standards we expect”.

The force’s Professional Standards Department had found cases of misconduct against three officers.

One of them has since retired, but the other two officers are being given “management guidance and advice.”

Joseph Willis is serving life imprisonment for attempted murder. 

Images: BBC


bill cosby sexual assault talks.jpg

Juror in Bill Cosby case blames victim Andrea Constand's outfit


Photo series shines light on casual and degrading harassment of women

VAN_SARKI_GUARDIAN_ELIZABETH_MOSS_1 (fafc0441acf447e167776db37674462a01ab1605) cropped.jpg

Elisabeth Moss: “Now is the time for cold, hard action”


Ireland will hold a referendum on abortion in 2018

Here’s everything you need to know about what could be a landmark moment for women’s rights

by Moya Crockett
26 Sep 2017

29 autumn tattoos that capture the magic of the golden season

Think woodland illustrations and sunset hues

by Megan Murray
26 Sep 2017

The greatest life lessons from The Princess Bride

It's been 30 years since it first hit the big screen

by Susan Devaney
26 Sep 2017

These are the four skills you should highlight on your CV

According to the world's top CEOs

by Helen Brown
26 Sep 2017

This woman’s post encourages others to call out sexual harassment

“He tilted his phone up... enough for me to see the picture of my ass”

by Amy Swales
26 Sep 2017

Trump rates Angelina Jolie and Anne Hathaway in newly released tapes

“I don’t think she’s got good skin. I don’t think she’s got a great face.”

by Amy Swales
26 Sep 2017

Depressingly, this TV moment attracted the most complaints of 2017

Don’t we all have bigger things to worry about than this?

by Kayleigh Dray
26 Sep 2017

This TV show has been voted reigning champion of the last 20 years

And no, it's not Friends

by Megan Murray
26 Sep 2017

Everything you need to know about Pretty Woman: The Musical

We already can’t wait for this

by Moya Crockett
26 Sep 2017

Why you'll never fancy that person who REALLY likes you

According to experts

by Nicola Colyer
26 Sep 2017