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Lily Allen ‘victim shamed’ over stalking

Lily Allen

Singer Lily Allen has accused police dealing with her stalking case of “victim-shaming”.

In an interview with BBC Newsnight, Allen said that after she spoke out, a Met officer suggested her “high profile” intervention may have discouraged others from coming forward.

“I think it’s victim-shaming and victim-blaming,” she said.

The Met says it takes stalking “extremely seriously” and seeks to put victims at the heart of any inquiry.

After giving an interview to The Observer at the weekend expressing her dissatisfaction with elements of the investigation, Allen says she received an email from a Met officer who wrote that “due to the high profile of this matter I fear other victims of similar crimes may have read the story and now may not have the confidence in us to report such matters. As such it is really important I can understand what, if anything, went wrong during the investigation.”

The singer says she is concerned that she had to hire her own lawyer to ensure that her stalker, 30-year-old Alex Gray, was charged with harassment as well as burglary.

Mr Gray was convicted earlier this month and is now awaiting sentencing.

He first contacted Allen on Twitter in 2008, then began turning up at her home and office and leaving abusive notes and suicide threats. He attended one of her gigs in 2009 holding a banner with a message to her, and last year broke into her flat and bedroom after she accidentally left a door unlocked.

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She says that after repeated requests, police showed her a photo of Mr Gray “for 30 seconds” – but wouldn’t let her keep it. As a result, she didn’t recognise her stalker when he entered her bedroom.

Lily Allen had first alerted police to the problem in 2009 and gave them the notes as evidence. She assumed that they would be used as part of the 2016 court case, but was told that they had been destroyed “according to police protocol”. A panic alarm given to her was also taken away again when Gray left her alone for six months.

In a statement the Met said: “The victim should be at the heart of any investigation into such allegations and kept informed of developments as this work progresses. If this is not the case then we are keen to speak to victims and learn any lessons we can to improve our investigations.”

The singer is supporting a campaign by the Women’s Equality Party and the stalking advocacy service Paladin to set up a register for serial stalkers.

Up to 700,000 women are stalked each year, with only 1% of stalking cases and 16% of harassment cases recorded by police, according to Paladin.

But Lily Allen said she didn’t blame Gray for her ordeal.

“I’m not in the slightest bit angry with Alex Gray. I could see from the minute he came into my bedroom that he was ill and that he needed help.

“I wanted to help – I felt immediately like there’s something really wrong with this guy and I feel like he’s been let down. I’ve been let down. And how many other people are being let down?”

Lily Allen was speaking to Kirsty Wark. You can watch the full interview on BBC Newsnight at 22:30 on BBC Two – or afterwards on iPlayer

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