Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Social media gives stalkers a new means of terrifying people like Christine, but you don't have to be famous to fall victim

Editor's Viewpoint

Christine Lampard may live an enviable life, with a successful television career and be married to a wealthy football manager.

But fame can bring its own problems, as she discovered when a wannabe actor carried out a sinister stalking campaign for almost three years and at one stage forced her to cower in fright behind the sofa when he called at her home.

Some of the messages sent to her in tweets were deeply disturbing, referring to crucifixion and tombstones. These messages would appear to the lay person as an indication that her stalker was not a well man.

Indeed, he believed there was a chance of a relationship with the presenter and that she had communicated with him during television broadcasts.

To make matters worse for the Northern Ireland-born star, she is now being forced to go to court because the stalker refuses to accept that his behaviour caused her distress or that the tweets amount to stalking.

There is no doubt that Christine must have felt a real sense of terror, especially when the man turned up at her home.

Sadly, stalking of this kind is not uncommon, with female celebrities most frequently the subject of unwanted attention.

Nor do the subjects of stalking have to be famous. We often read accounts of how women from all walks of life become an obsession to male admirers.

On occasion, this obsession can take an even more sinister turn, leading to violence or even murder. It is not uncommon for relatives in such instances to say that complaints of stalking made to police were not taken seriously enough, quickly enough.

Social media gives stalkers a new advantage in their ability to contact their victims, forcing them to block or cease all social media activity.

It is imperative that allegations of stalking are investigated quickly and thoroughly and culprits dealt with severely when brought to court.

Belfast Telegraph

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