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