‘I miss my daugh­ter ev­ery day – I can’t be­lieve it’s still hap­pen­ing’

Closer (UK) - - Real Life In The News - By Hadley Mid­dle­ton

Tri­cia Ber­nal, T 62, says she still strug­gles to deal with the shock of los­ing her daugh­ter and is dev­as­tated there are still so many vic­tims of stalk­ing.

Tri­cia, a mum of three, had never met her daugh­ter’s boyfriend, Michael Pech, then 30, who worked with Clare at Har­vey Ni­chols in Lon­don.

POSSESSIVENESS

She says, “Clare be­gan dat­ing Michael in Jan­uary 2005. They’d only been see­ing each other for a few weeks when he started show­ing signs of possessiveness, so Clare ended the re­la­tion­ship – but Michael wouldn’t ac­cept it. He be­gan fol­low­ing her and, even though he was sus­pended from his job for scar­ing Clare, he would hover around the shop en­trance.

“In April 2005, he was ar­rested for stalk­ing and pleaded guilty to ha­rass­ment. But Michael was re­leased on bail be­fore the sen­tenc­ing. Then, on the evening of 13 Septem­ber 2005, he walked into the store and shot Clare in the back of the head, then a fur­ther three times as she lay dy­ing. Michael then turned the gun on him­self and com­mit­ted sui­cide.

“I was in shock when the po­lice came to my house to tell me. I was un­able to ac­cept that Clare was gone.

HOR­RIFIC MEM­O­RIES

“For a long while af­ter los­ing Clare, I was in de­nial. I kept telling my­self she was on a long hol­i­day, but even­tu­ally the aw­ful re­al­ity hit me that she was never com­ing back. There are no words to de­scribe the des­per­ate, sick­en­ing feel­ing of loss that gripped me. But I de­cided to deal with my grief in a pos­i­tive way and be­gan cam­paign­ing by rais­ing aware­ness of the dan­gers of stalk­ing. Most re­cently, we’ve been cam­paign­ing for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of stalk­ing pro­tec­tion or­ders, which could have saved Clare – and other women like her – by en­sur­ing they were of­fered pro­tec­tion at the very ear­li­est stage. I also co-founded the char­ity Pro­tec­tion Against Stalk­ing, work­ing with pro­fes­sion­als and vic­tims to iden­tify ways of pro­tect­ing against ob­ses­sive be­hav­iour. Hear­ing about Molly’s mur­der brought back so many hor­rific mem­o­ries, as well as anger that mur­der through stalk­ing is still hap­pen­ing. Two of Stimp­son’s exes had re­ported him for stalk­ing, so more should have been done to pro­tect Molly.

“Per­haps if Clare and Molly had had proper pro­tec­tion, it could have saved their lives.”

Tri­cia turned to cam­paign­ing to help heal her grief

Clare was shot dead by her ob­ses­sive ex-boyfriend

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.