Lily Allen's seven-year stalker hell
Lily Allen was harassed by a stalker for seven years.
The 30-year-old singer says she is now "practically a hermit" after years of terror at the hands of Alex Gray, who has stalked her online, at concerts and even broke into her house one night when she and her two young daughters were asleep.
Alex first contacted Lily on Twitter, using the handle @LilyAllenRIP and claiming to have written her song 'The Fear', before moving on to sending her abusive letters and approaching her assistant and colleagues.
However, things got even more serious last October, when Lily accidentally left her back door unlocked.
Speaking to The Observer, she said: "I had all sorts of metal shutters and locks on the doors but I'd been cooking and burned a pan and opened the back door. I closed it but forgot to lock it when I went to bed. [Later than night] I sat up in bed and looked and the door handle was twisting round.
"This guy came steaming in and I didn't know who he was. I recoiled and he ripped the duvet off, calling me a 'f***ing bitch' and yelling about where his dad is.
"For me, it was too much of a coincidence that the only night I had left the shutters up, this man came in. I believe he had been spending a lot of time out there in my garden, watching."
Lily believes her stalker had a knife when he broke in and has slammed the police for not taking her claims of stalking seriously.
She said: "This was something that started in 2009 with a tweet and ended in 2015 with him in my house and, I believe, with a weapon.
"I'm lucky in that I had the money and the motivation to take action myself. I want answers from the police. If they treat me like this, how the hell are they going to treat everyone else?
"It was not special attention I looked for. It was reassurance and validation. The police made me feel like a nuisance, rather than a victim."
And the mother of two also admitted that the ordeal has changed her completely.
She said: "It has affected how I live my life. I'm very wary, I have trust issues. It impacts on your relationships, everything. I'm practically a hermit now! I'm very aware of trying not to overdramatise what's happened, I'm aware that some fears are irrational; I know he is in prison. If I hear a bang, every little noise makes me start. I see his face in people in the street. I've had to leave the flat I loved, move nearer a main road with lots of CCTV about."
Mr Gray was convicted at Harrow Crown Court of burglary and harassment earlier this month and will be sentenced in May.