Mad­dern joins list of top stars bul­lied and in­tim­i­dated

Sunday Herald Sun - - Front Page - FIONA BYRNE GOGOSSIP QUEEN, PAGES 14-15

Bec Mad­dern is one of sev­eral TV stars who have al­legedly been ha­rassed by a crazed man. The Sun­day Her­ald Sun can re­veal Mad­dern, news­reader Jen­nifer Keyte and TV ex­ec­u­tives have all al­legedly been tar­geted by the man charged with stalking Nine news­reader Peter Hitch­ener

RE­BECCA Mad­dern has joined a list of high-pro­file Mel­bourne TV iden­ti­ties to al­legedly fall vic­tim to a serial pest charged with stalking Peter Hitch­ener. The man is said to have first tar­geted Mad­dern when she was at Chan­nel 7, as well as col­league Jen­nifer Keyte and key ex­ec­u­tives in­clud­ing Mel­bourne man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Lewis Martin. The cam­paign of pest be­hav­iour al­legedly be­gan around three years ago and in­cluded send­ing elec­tronic mes­sages. It is be­lieved Chan­nel 7 took mea­sures to pro­tect its tal­ent and at some time in the past year he be­came fix­ated on Chan­nel 9’s Mel­bourne news an­chor Peter Hitch­ener. It is be­lieved the man had pre­vi­ously been em­ployed by Chan­nel 7. “This guy has been a pest for a very long time,” an in­dus­try source said. Another said: “He is known. We re­fer to him as a serial pest.” He is also be­lieved to have tar­geted me­dia ex­ec­u­tives in­clud­ing David Gyn­gell and politi­cians, and posted mes­sages on a ma­jor re­tailer’s Face­book page urg­ing them to stop sup­port­ing the Nine net­work. Af­ter months of abuse on so­cial me­dia, Hitch­ener took ac­tion, call­ing in the po­lice to ad­dress the in­creas­ingly dis­tress­ing sit­u­a­tion and ob­tain­ing an in­ter­ven­tion or­der.

Vic­to­ria Po­lice con­firmed on Fri­day that a 48-year-old man had been charged with stalking, us­ing a car­riage ser­vice to ha­rass, us­ing a car­riage ser­vice to men­ace and breach of a court or­der.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors from Port Phillip CIU ar­rested the man at his home on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

He later ap­peared in the Mel­bourne Mag­is­trates’ Court where he was granted bail to un­dergo psychiatric as­sess­ment.

He will reap­pear in the Mel­bourne Mag­is­trates’ Court to­mor­row.

For­mer Chan­nel 10 and Chan­nel 7 news and cur­rent af­fairs pre­sen­ter He­len Ka­pa­los said deal­ing with serial pests was a sad re­al­ity of hav­ing a pub­lic pro­file.

Ms Ka­pa­los, who is now the chair of the Vic­to­rian Mul­ti­cul­tural Com­mis­sion, said that while she had never had deal­ings with the man ac­cused of ha­rass­ing Hitch­ener, she had been tar­geted by sev­eral in­di­vid­u­als dur­ing her TV ca­reer. “It is an un­for­tu­nate re­al­ity, but one that peo­ple in the pub­lic eye have to live with,” Ms Ka­pa­los said.

“It is very dis­tress­ing when it hap­pens. I had about a dozen cases that needed to be mon­i­tored over a 12year pe­riod when I was work­ing in the me­dia.’’


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