Pop star Lily Allen has revealed that she was targeted by a stalker for seven years and has criticised the way police handled her case. The man went from threatening her on social media to breaking her home and screaming at her in her bedroom, an experience that left her with "trust issues now, not least with the police."
"This guy came steaming in and I didn't know who he was," Allen told The Observer about the October 2015 incident. "I recoiled and he ripped the duvet off, calling me a 'fucking bitch' and yelling about where his dad is."
Her friend was able to push the man out of the house, the 30-year-old Smile singer said, adding that she was convinced the man had a knife in his pocket.
Allen's ordeal began in 2009 with a tweet from Alex Gray under the handle @lilyallenRIP (the account no longer exists) in which he claimed to have written her hit song, The Fear. He then began sending her abusive letters, rants and suicide threats to her flat, her sister's shop and her record company, before approaching members of her staff in the street, she said.
Allen reported the incidents to the police. After she called them about someone in the crowd holding up a banner saying "I Wrote The Fear", she said they gave her a panic button for a few months and the man seemed to go quiet.
A phone call from officers later warned her that Gray was "active again" but the charttopper said she had to beg the police to see a picture of him because she "didn't even know what he looked like".
"I did all my own digging," she said, adding that she got her own lawyer and "put measures in place to protect my family."
She said: "I felt very alone. I have some trust issues now, not least with the police. Who can you trust if you cannot trust institutions like the police?"
Met defends stalking response
London's Metropolitan Police told the IBTimes UK that they were not able to respond to specific allegations but stalking was taken "extremely seriously".
The 1997 Protection from Harassment Act was amended by 2012's Protection of Freedoms Act to include two new specific offences of stalking.
Basic stalking carries a maximum of six-months imprisonment and a level five fine of up to £5,000. Stalking someone with the fear of violence carries a maximum five year sentence and the possibility of a fine.
Gray was convicted of harassment and burglary at Harrow Crown Court earlier this month and will be sentenced after a psychiatric evaluation.