COURT

Woman fears for safety over 'extremely frightening' online messages from 'stalker'

Aodhan O'Faolain

Reporter:

Aodhan O'Faolain

Email:

news@waterfordlive.ie

Woman fears for safety over 'extremely frightening' online messages from 'stalker'

Woman fears for safety over online messages

A woman says she fears for her safety due to upsetting and extremely frightening online messages sent to her by a male "stalker", the High Court has heard.  

The woman says the unwanted communications, in the form of emails and messages via social media platforms, commenced when they were at the same third level college together almost a decade ago.

She claims she only ever had one personal interaction with the man during the college years. 

The communications - which she never encouraged and has made clear to the man she never desired - continued for several years and have intensified in recent weeks.  

Despite not wanting anything to do with him, the man has said in messages to the woman that he had "very strong feelings" about her, that he felt "entitled to further contact with her" and wanted a relationship with her and that "he loved her." 

In one early email after she had blocked him on Facebook, he told her he had a horrible feeling this is going to end up with him "dead or in prison or something".

In several recent emails, the man accuses her of ignoring his feelings, dismissing his trauma, falsifying a police report about him, and accused the woman of being "a monster ". He also told her to "find a cactus and go f**k yourself."

The court heard the woman believes the man may have mental health issues and may be on medication. 

As a result of the communications, the woman - who along with the defendant cannot be identified for legal reasons - has asked the High Court for various orders including an injunction preventing the man from intimidating, harassing, watching, besetting and communicating with her.

The woman's lawyers previously secured permission from Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds to serve short notice of the proceedings on the defendant. 

The judge also directed that the gardaí and members of the defendant's family be made aware of the proceedings. 

The woman said the only interaction she ever had with the man was almost a decade ago in the same college they attended, where they were both members of a small group that did a class presentation together. That was her only interaction in person. She said that after receiving messages from the man, she asked him to leave her alone. 

Despite initially indicating that he had no intention of messaging her again, he did contact her on other occasions, causing her anxiety and sleep difficulties.  

She said that after graduating from college, she continued to get unsettling messages from bogus accounts she believes were set up by the defendant.   

She says that in recent weeks, she has received very upsetting and peculiar contact online which was alarming, upsetting and causes her to fear for her personal safety.

Over the years, she has made complaints to bodies including the gardaí and the authorities at the college they attended.  

The matter was briefly mentioned before the court on Tuesday when the judge was informed that there had been difficulty in serving the man with the proceedings. 

However, the man was due to meet with a solicitor in relation to the claim, who may come on record and represent him. 

The judge adjourned the matter for a week.