A former ITV newsreader broke down in tears on This Morning today as she told Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond of her stalker has “ruined my life”.
Isla Traquair was forced to move out of her home after her neighbour Jonathan Barrett began stalking her and climbed into her garden naked when she moved into the new house on the edge of the Cotswolds.
She suffered nightmares and panic attacks and spent months trying to get the police to take her seriously after Barrett, 53, was seen staring into Traquair’s bedroom, and entering her home to offer her food in the village of Corsham, Wiltshire.
Traquair, 42, who has worked for ITV News and Channel 5, and has made programmes for the Oprah Winfrey Network in the US, told This Morning she wanted to raise awareness for other women as she broke down in tears.
Recalling how it all started, she said: “What I became aware of was there was an unhealthy interest in what I was doing, he was always there at the front or back door and wanted to talk.
“He climbed over the wall and got in through my conservatory, and I got a bit of a fright. The door was sometimes open because there were builders coming in and out.
“Where he parked his van he could look down into my bedroom, I tried to put in a bush, bamboo screening, it resulted in him butching my hedge.”
She said she spoke to his female partner to ask for help, explaining: “The first time he shouted and swore at me I went over and she explained to me he had some mental health issues undiagnosed.
“So I had compassion and I was more tolerant but then after the hedge incident happened (I told her) he’s spying on me. She said she knows what he’s doing, he just likes to stare, she tried to minimise it.
“She went from sympathetic to saying it’s not my problem.”
On one occassion he followed her in his van and when she turned into a remote farm shop with some land, he swerved in behind her.
She was then advised to move out of the home after intervention from the police and her local councillor failed to stop Barrett.
Traquair, who was born in Aberdeen, said she had carried a gigantic weight on her shoulders since early last year and that her ordeal continued for seven months.
She said: “I contacted the chief constable to make sure my case wasn’t dropped because the CPS wanted to drop it because I had to move to America.
“I’m a crown journalist, I’m assertive, I can talk in public, I’m not scared to fight, but it was breaking me. Inside as a person it was destroying me. Anxiety, panic attacks, sleepless nights. It has ruined my life for the past year.
“I had two hours sleep last night, I was anxious about coming on, I have never talked about my personal life for the past year.
“Being a victim is not something I enjoy. I’m speaking out purely to raise awareness that this is not something taken seriously by police.”
Viewers praised Traquair for sharing her story, and one said: “Isla story really shows how horrendous these people are and the impact they have. Well done Isla for coming on & telling your awful experience #ThisMorning bloke, you are scum.”
A second person said: “I too was stalked. It was covered by bbc news. He rang me 600 times in two hours. Everything Isla says is the same. Each officer has different opinions from helpful to what do you expect?”
Barrett is subject to a one-year restraining order and will be sentenced next month.