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