Anthony Gray, 44, had bombarded the mum-of-three with texts and calls, turned up at her home and messaged her at a football match saying: “I am behind you.”
Scared for the safety of herself and her children, Rebekah eventually reported Gray to the police and he was convicted of harassment.
After Gray was given a restraining order, Rebekah felt safe — but when he breached it he was handed a fine of just £300.
Now Rebekah is joining our Stop A Stalker campaign which urges the authorities to take stalking more seriously and backs the Stalking Protection Bill so police can have more powers to protect victims before it is too late.
Rebekah, 48, from Hull, says: “More needs to be done to protect people like me. That is why I am supporting this vital Fabulous Daily campaign.
“How am I supposed to move on when I know Tony is still out there? I’m still looking over my shoulder everywhere I go.”
In December 2016, Rebekah met Tony through a dating site.
Rebekah, mum to Ben, 24, Harry, 21, and George, 18, says: “Tony was funny, charming and attentive.
“In time, though, the cracks appeared. He became a different person when he drank. He’d pick fights with me, put me down and get jealous if I spent time with anyone else, even my boys. It was like he wanted me to himself — but seemed to hate me sometimes, too.”
Friends began to doubt the relationship but it was only after he insulted her sons in a row that she finally ended things in August 2017.
Rebekah, a housing officer, says: “Before Tony, I couldn’t understand why women stayed with men such as him. But now I see it isn’t a choice.
“He chipped away all my confidence, made me feel I was unworthy of love, brought me to my knees like a frightened little victim.
“Finally broken, I told him, ‘It’s over — for good.’ As I drove home from finishing with him, my phone was ringing on repeat.
“Over the next few weeks he bombarded me with texts and calls, sometimes phoning up to 20 times an hour.
“Whenever I blocked him, he’d find a new way to contact me, like his withheld work number or a payphone. He’d go from begging me to come back to foul-mouthed rants, calling me a liar and cheat.” Chillingly, Gray once contacted Rebekah to say he was very near.
Rebekah says: “I was watching a Hull City match when I got a text message. It said, ‘I’m behind you — up to your left’. I had a season ticket so he knew I’d be there. I stared straight ahead, too afraid to turn around and see if he was there. I ran out at half-time and I think I heard him call my name — but I didn’t dare look.
“I was always looking over my shoulder. He would send texts saying things like, ‘I’m getting what is mine’ and ‘Don’t know why I loved you’.
“Another time, I won tickets in a radio competition to a concert for The Script. He told me he’d be there too and that he’d stand right next to me.
“Every time my phone rang, I felt terror. People ask me why I didn’t change my number but I worried that would prompt him to do something awful.
“I threatened to go to the police but he kept saying, ‘I don’t care, you’ll never win’.”
Rebekah says Gray once showed up at her house at 7.30am and looked through her window as she ate breakfast. Another time, she says he watched her from outside while she was at work.
In September last year, Rebekah went to Humberside Police. Gray was charged, pleaded guilty at Beverley Magistrates Court to causing harassment without violence and was given a restraining order.
Rebekah says: “Sitting in the same courtroom as him, I felt physically sick. But relief surged through me when he was given a restraining order, banning him from contacting me or going anywhere near me, and was warned any breach could land him in jail for up to five years.
“I thought that would be the end. But after four months, in January 2018, he texted again.
“‘You OK?’ he asked. Seeing his name back on my screen made me feel as if he was closing in on me. I thought it was best to ignore him — until a few weeks later, in February 2018, a second message came, ‘I did love you’.”
Rebekah went to the police and five months later, Gray was hauled before Hull magistrates.
She says: “I expected him to be sent to jail, but he was fined just £300. The sentence made me feel gutted. Is that all my safety is worth?
“That’s why the Stop A Stalker campaign is important. It’s not only vital that victims are better protected but that the police and courts take cases like mine more seriously. The courts need to clamp down harder on offenders so victims feel safe.”
Sign our petition at change.org/stopastalker.
HOW TO GET HELP
If you become a victim of stalking, inform a friend, secure your social media, contact the police and call the National Stalking Helpline on
0808 802 0300.
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article