Stalking victims speak out
In the last month, two Telford men have been jailed for stalking offences, and control and coercion.
In at least one of these cases it was not a first offence. Thomas Lavill (pictured) was convicted last week and handed a three-month prison term and a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting the victim directly or indirectly.
Detective Sergeant Ben Poppleton said West Mercia police treats domestic abuse very seriously and we’re working hard to try to safeguard victims and their families. We hope there is some level of comfort to the victim and the issue of the restraining order will help safeguard her going forward”
Less than 4 weeks ago, Telford stalker, Caleb Hale pleaded guilty to a charge of controlling or coercive behaviour, stalking and sending a threatening communication; he was also given a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting the victim directly or indirectly.
Beyond the headlines, important as they are, are victims. Survivors, if you will, who have not only been through the trauma of these toxic relationships, but the investigations, and in some cases where the charges are contested, a courtroom trial.
Two such people contacted Telford Live! and gave an insight into the trial they themselves have endured, and importantly, what to do to try and avoid this happening to you or your loved ones.
“I waited for so long to get these results and it finally happened. I walked out of my house on my own a few days ago and honestly, opening that front door felt like a breath of fresh air.” – The verdict of ‘Michelle’ (alias used)
Michelle shared the WhatsApp, Instagram messages, missed Facetime calls and a pattern emerges. A boundary pushed until a line is crossed. An apology and then a boundary pushed a little bit further. The cycle repeats until, before Michelle knew it, an accusation of cheating and ‘I will climb through your window at night and slit your fucking throat…and then I will take out your whole family whist [sic] you all sleep’.
A dozen missed Facetime calls. One minute after the other. “You want to answer your phone”. More missed calls. “I’ll be at yours soon”. “I feel you’re awake xx”. Incessant.
“I’ve realised what I’ve done. I am sorry”. The inevitable apology. It was too much for Michelle who eventually plucked up the courage to contact Police.
Janet (another Alias) who’s abuser had form tells Telford Live! “He had a long history and there have been other since me that didn’t have enough evidence to get the justice they deserved.”
A long history indeed. After landing a suspended sentence for inflicting GBH on a woman in 2015, he was jailed for breaching his restraining order not once, but twice. After release, he was back to old tricks.
“After three years of torturing me, he was given just three months for stalking. I’ve been treated terribly the whole three years waiting for trial at courts” said Janet.
The trial was not plain sailing; “It’s a system, in my opinion, in favour of abusers. Being put through a trial while he got to opt out of cross examination was disgusting.”
Janet reflected on the nature of domestic violence offences “There have been other offences on women since me that never even got a chance for justice…. all because DV is often behind closed doors so hard to get enough evidence.
“horrendous experience after everything he put me through, but I feel like I am moving forward after everything.”
The question I asked Janet & Michelle was; how can people try to avoid getting into relationships like this in the first place? The answer is not clear cut. Like when you look at your parents and suddenly realise that they look old, or the sign at the end of your street is really dirty, you didn’t see this building up. Until it’s too late.
A suggestion to Google your new partners name, or even to go to the police and make a formal Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) application, especially when kids are involved can help, but it’s not a panacea. After all, they have to have been convicted and it can take 28 days or longer to get vital information back. You can, at least, do that online here: https://www.westmercia.police.uk/…/request-information…/
While I get requests/threats to take posts like this, at least Janet is thankful: “Plastering him all over Internet is best justice….help keep others safe”
Pic: Tomas Lavill convicted last week for stalking