'I felt like a hostage in my own home': Stalking victim shares experience of builder's 'controlling' behaviour

25 November 2022, 16:32 | Updated: 25 November 2022, 16:35

Caller shares how builder stalked her and sent her underwear

By Hannah Holland

This caller describes how a builder who was working in her home was "terrible friendly" at first, but his behaviour "escalated" to sending her underwear in the post.

Sarah from Brighton rang in to tell Shelagh about her experience of being stalked by a builder who was doing renovations on her home.

The conversation came after campaigners launched a super-complaint against the police, calling for better training to improve their approach to reports of stalking.

Sarah described how the builder was “terribly friendly” and “very helpful” at the start but a "change in tone" came when he sent her an "unpleasant" email.

“I sort of thought well, hopefully it will go away, he’ll leave me alone and forget it all."

Shelagh weighed in, adding that the builder “assumed an intimacy that wasn’t there”.

Sarah responded: “I felt like a hostage in my own home - this man was in my home and had me completely, I felt, over a barrel.”

She went on to describe the “coercive control” the builder had over her that made her “nervous” as an older woman living alone.

Sarah then explained how his behaviour “escalated” from urinating in her bathroom with the door open to sending her underwear in the post.

“I sat down, I was just shaking, I didn’t know what to do”, she recalled, before adding: “He felt he was in charge and he could take over and do what he wanted with me.”

Shelagh asked: “When you look back at what you did tolerate and hope would just go away on its own, what are your reflections on that?”

Sarah responded: “I felt I had to cajole him and try and make sure that he would continue the work because I thought if he walks out now it’ll be a disaster for me.”

READ MORE: 'Horrific': LBC listeners reveal chilling experiences of stalking

READ MORE: Zara Aleena killing shows women don't feel as safe as they should - as a parent I want to change that, Sunak says

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