‘If Alice had been taken more se­ri­ously, she might still be here’

Closer (UK) - - Real Life In The News - By Mel Fal­low­field

Dr Sue Hills, 57, lives with her hus­band, Clive, 66, in Leicestershire. Their daugh­ter Alice was just 24 when she was killed by her stalker in Oc­to­ber 2016.

Sue says, “It’s nearly two years since Alice was mur­dered by her ex, sol­dier Tri­maan Dhillon, who was known as Harry. I miss her ev­ery day. She was a ray of sun­shine. Now there is an Alice shaped hole in our fam­ily, which can never be filled. That’s why I support Stalk­ing Pro­tec­tion Or­ders – if they were law when she was be­ing stalked, our daugh­ter may still be alive to­day.

“Alice started dat­ing Dhillon in Jan­uary 2016, af­ter meet­ing on Face­book. I met him sev­eral times and he even came on a fam­ily hol­i­day with us to Corn­wall. He seemed im­ma­ture then, but not dan­ger­ous.

PLEAD­ING MES­SAGES

“Look­ing back at pho­to­graphs of that hol­i­day, I can see Alice looked mis­er­able and I’ve since learnt how con­trol­ling he was. They broke up in Au­gust 2016 af­ter she dis­cov­ered he’d been con­tact­ing other women on so­cial me­dia and dat­ing apps.

“Then he be­gan stalk­ing her. He bom­barded her with calls and sent her plead­ing mes­sages to take him back. At first, we all thought he was just a ‘nui­sance’, and I still feel ter­ri­ble that I didn’t re­alise how se­ri­ous it was. He moved on to hack­ing Alice’s so­cial me­dia and her phone.

“She first called the po­lice af­ter he turned up at her house in Gateshead in Septem­ber 2016. He knocked on her win­dow in the mid­dle of the night, and left flow­ers and choco­lates. There was noth­ing ro­man­tic about it; it ter­ri­fied her. He’d scaled a 6ft wall to do it, show­ing the lengths he was pre­pared to go to.

“Po­lice is­sued a PIN (Per­sonal In­for­ma­tion No­tice) for­bid­ding him from con­tact­ing her, but it didn’t carry any reper­cus­sions if he re­of­fended. A few days later he wrote her a let­ter telling her how angry he was with her for call­ing the po­lice. Alice phoned them again, but felt she was brushed off. Her sis­ter later told me that she’d said to her, ‘The po­lice will lis­ten when he stabs me.’ I still shiver think­ing about it.

“Five days later she was dead. He’d driven 120 miles from his bar­racks near Ed­in­burgh to con­front her. He climbed into her flat through an open win­dow, pinned her down and stabbed her to death. Stalk­ing needs to be taken more se­ri­ously, then my daugh­ter might have stood a chance. A Stalk­ing Pro­tec­tion Or­der could stop a stalker in their tracks. Dhillon would have been ar­rested when he con­tacted her with the let­ter af­ter she’d ini­tially re­ported him for stalk­ing.

SPARED AGONY

“We are also cam­paign­ing for there to be a ‘stalk­ing reg­is­ter’, so any­one’s previous of­fences could be eas­ily looked up. It turns out Dhillon’s ex-girl­friend had a re­strain­ing or­der against him. Again, if the po­lice had re­alised he had posed a threat be­fore, they’d have acted dif­fer­ently. Noth­ing can bring Alice back, but I hope so much that this law gets passed, so other moth­ers don’t have to en­dure the same agony as I have.” ● Sue and Clive have set up the Alice Rug­gles Trust to put an end to stalk­ing. Visit Alicerug­glestrust.org

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