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

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Jasmine Andersson
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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.

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.”

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.

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.

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


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Jasmine Andersson

When she isn't talking about her emotional attachment to meal deals or serenading unfortunate individuals with David Bowie power solos in karaoke booths, Jasmine writes about gender, politics and culture as a freelance journalist. She wastes her days tweeting @the__chez