Lily Allen's story about being stalked is enough to make anyone sit up and take notice:
“This guy came steaming in and I didn’t know who he was. I recoiled and he ripped the duvet off, calling me a ‘fucking bitch’ and yelling about where his dad is.”I say make anyone sit up. The police - who were already aware that Allen was being stalked - were surprisingly relaxed:
The man had an object stuffed inside his jacket that Allen is convinced was a knife. She believes he was caught off-guard when he found she was not alone, and her friend was able to shove the man out of the house as she ran to check her children were safe. “There was this second outside my kids’ room when I was terrified to go in, in case of what I might find.”
The police told Allen the intruder was probably someone who had stumbled into the wrong flat after too much to drink. “For me, it was too much of a coincidence that the only night I had left the shutters up, this man came in. I believe he had been spending a lot of time out there in my garden, watching.”Yeah. "The shutters". Lily Allen was living a life where she was having to lock herself in her own home behind metal shutters.
Calling the police back the next day, Allen told them she thought the intruder could be the same man who had been threatening her. “But they were uncomfortable with the idea. Then I realised my handbag was missing and the change in atmosphere was palpable, it was like a sigh of relief: ‘now it’s burglary – we understand that’.”
She'd had a bunch of letters that she'd previously passed to the police, which you might think would be useful evidence when prosecuting this sort of crime:
“I wrote to the police and asked why they weren’t using these letters going back to 2009, and then I got a short note saying they had been destroyed ‘according to police protocol’. No apology, no explanation.”Allen - as she points out - is neither low-profile, not backwards at coming forwards. And she knows the man who tormented her needed help, not punishment. Eventually, the stalker was brought to trial. The uncomfortable question is: what would have happened if it hadn't been Lily Allen? Someone without the strength to push through a system which appears to just be confused by the nature of the crime it's being asked to investigate.