Stalkers

Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,082
Likes
19,554
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#1
VIP stalkers prone to serious mental illness
Stalkers

Rather than being hapless eccentrics, the majority of stalkers suffer from serious psychotic illnesses, finds a study of people who stalk members of the British royal family.

The findings, which have been know for nearly two years, but were first made public at a forensic science meeting on Tuesday in Melbourne, Australia, have been instrumental in developing a new approach to reducing risks of attack on the royal family, and UK and European politicians. The approach is to direct "VIP" or star stalkers into psychiatric care.

"We didn't expect such high rates of psychosis. It was very surprising to us," says Paul Mullen, a forensic psychiatrist at Monash University and the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health.

Mullen led the study, which was sponsored by the UK Home Office, with David James, a consultant forensic psychiatrist at the North London Forensic Service.

Mullen and his colleagues scrutinised over 20,000 incidences of stalking members of the royal family, such as repeated and threatening letter writing, and repeated attempted approaches and attacks, from 1988 to 2003. The data was contained in files on 8000 people kept by the Metropolitan Police.

"Just under half were people writing letters repeatedly that were usually threatening or inappropriately amorous," says Mullen. Over the 15-year period, 600 people managed to get close to a member of the royal family, and there were 17 attacks on staff, protection service personal or property, he says.

Drunks and pranksters
Around 3000 of the files covered incidences that were judged to be pranks, or committed by people accidentally or while they were drunk.

The Mullen team examined in detail the files of 250 of the remaining 5000 people judged to be true stalkers. About 80% had a serious psychotic illness, including schizophrenia, delusions and hallucinations, they found.

The finding contrasts sharply with people who stalk non-famous people.

"Typically a fifth of stalkers have some sort of serious or severe psychotic disorder," says forensic psychologist Rosemary Purcell of the University of Melbourne, who has co-published a book about stalkers with Mullen.

The largest group of non-VIP stalkers are rejected lovers, who may be depressed and socially inept, but don't usually suffer psychosis. VIP stalkers, on the other hand, appear most like a subset of stalkers called "intimacy seekers", says Mullen. These people strive to initiate a relationship with their victims, and frequently suffer a psychotic disorder.

"Some [intimacy seekers] have erotomania, a full-blown delusional disorder, where they believe that the victim is in love with them," says Purcell.

Therapy works
In a separate study published earlier this year, James, Mullen and their colleagues found that psychotic illness is also common among people who attack members of the royal family.

The team's findings were vital in the development of a new strategy to combat VIP stalking. As a result, the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre, a joint police and mental-health unit, was quietly set up in London by the Home Office, Metropolitan Police, and the Department of Health, two years ago on a pilot basis. James is the centre's clinical director.

Previously, stalkers of British royalty or senior politicians were removed from the scene if they were causing a nuisance, but were not offered treatment. Now FTAC psychiatrists assess the stalkers, referring them on to mental health services if they are in need of treatment.

That strategy pays off, according to James. "After two years, our experience is that most people do not engage in stalking again – in the past it was characteristic that the behaviour was repeated," he says.

Terrorist risk
Reducing VIP stalking is important for protecting individuals and for counterterrorism, says James. Few stalkers go on to launch attacks, but stalkers are responsible for roughly half of attacks against VIPs, including the most serious attacks.

Mullen, James and their colleagues are currently investigating ways to identify which stalkers are likely to pose a threat.

"[Stalkers] who are fixated on a cause, and have a highly personalised quest for 'justice', often delusional in nature, are the ones most likely to breach security, and to be carrying weapons," says James.

Mullen says that star stalkers are an unusual group, with their characteristics determined to some extent by the nature of the prominent person.

"People who stalk royalty may show a strange mixture of affection, and the belief that they are a relative or friend or even the rightful heir. People who stalk the president of the United States are more likely to have persecutory ideas."

Mental Health - Discover the latest research in our continuously updated special report. http://www.newscientist.com/channel/hea ... tal-health

Related Articles

Insight: Warning signs on the road to violence
http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns? ... 426014.300
28 April 2007

Love special: Obsession and stalking
http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns? ... 025491.500
29 April 2006

Weblinks

Paul Mullen, Monash University
http://www.monash.edu.au/news/expertlin ... act_id=467

James and Mullen's study
http://www.jaapl.org/cgi/content/full/36/1/59
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,082
Likes
19,554
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#4
Spacey stalker gets four years

A Massachusetts woman who threatened to blow up, torture and castrate Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey in what prosecutors called a "persistent and malevolent" cyberstalking campaign has been sentenced to more than four years in prison. A federal judge in Boston also ordered Linda Louise Culkin, of Quincy, to pay Spacey $124,000 in restitution for bodyguards.

Culkin, 55, is in jail since January 2012, meaning she has about 18 months left to serve. She pleaded guilty in November to charges including mailing threatening communications and sending false information regarding explosives.

Spacey was not in court for sentencing. He said in an impact statement it was “difficult to measure the degree of terror” he felt.

Culkin blamed her actions on mental illness.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/world/spac ... 87554.html
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,082
Likes
19,554
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#7
A woman who sent a dead mouse in a Jiffy bag to her ex-boyfriend's new partner has been convicted of stalking.

Poppy Carter, 29, also poured paint and corrosive substances over a van used by Carly Bradbury, the court heard.

Alex Roberts, Carter's ex-partner, said the ordeal left Ms Bradbury "in bits" and she was prescribed antidepressants.

Sentencing at St Albans Crown Court has been adjourned until 18 August in order to carry out a psychological assessment of Carter.

Carter, who lived in Hemel Hempstead at the time, caused serious alarm and distress to Ms Bradbury during a seven-month period in 2016, the court heard.

She had previously denied stalking. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-40777283

Just as long as the mouse wasn't alive when it was posted...
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,082
Likes
19,554
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#9
A woman who sent a dead mouse in a Jiffy bag to her ex-boyfriend's new partner has been convicted of stalking.

Poppy Carter, 29, also poured paint and corrosive substances over a van used by Carly Bradbury, the court heard.

Alex Roberts, Carter's ex-partner, said the ordeal left Ms Bradbury "in bits" and she was prescribed antidepressants.

Sentencing at St Albans Crown Court has been adjourned until 18 August in order to carry out a psychological assessment of Carter.

Carter, who lived in Hemel Hempstead at the time, caused serious alarm and distress to Ms Bradbury during a seven-month period in 2016, the court heard.

She had previously denied stalking. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-40777283

Just as long as the mouse wasn't alive when it was posted...
She's avoided jail!

A woman who posted a dead mouse to her ex-partner's girlfriend has been given a two-year suspended prison sentence.

Poppy Carter, 29, of Upper Lattimore Road in St Albans was found guilty of stalking Carly Bradbury.

St Albans Crown Court heard she poured paint and a corrosive liquid over her work van and sent anonymous cards depicting a cat watching a goldfish.

Passing sentence on Friday, Recorder Leslie Cuthbert called her actions "despicable, evil and vindictive."

"This conduct was intended to maximise her distress," he told her.

She was told a custodial sentence was justified for what she had done but that the jail term was suspended for two years.

Carter was also given a six-month night time curfew, a restraining order and told to carry out 84 hours of unpaid work. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-40998556
 

Shady

Mary Queen of Scots...temping as DEATHS Kitty
Joined
Apr 24, 2011
Messages
7,001
Likes
8,105
Points
284
#10
Yea, that's not going to stop her, at all
 

Frideswide

Fortea Morgana :) PeteByrdie certificated Princess
Staff member
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
9,478
Likes
9,659
Points
284
Location
An Eochair
#11
While I am glad that stalking is being taken more seriously, I don't think it's seen as serious enough yet. That could be becuase I've always found stories and reports of people being stalked by stuff terrifying! The ghost that follows you from house to house.....
 

escargot

Disciple of Marduk
Joined
Aug 24, 2001
Messages
25,157
Likes
20,364
Points
309
Location
HM The Tower of London
#14
I am to boring to stalk :D So i safe
Stalking isn't about the victim though, it's about the stalker. No quality or shortcoming in the stalker's victim can make them more likely to be stalked because the problem lies in the the stalker's own mental problems.

Not getting at you, just reminding you that nobody can be too boring to be fixated on by a nutter.
 

Swifty

doesn't negotiate with terriers
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
24,710
Likes
29,313
Points
284
#15
Stalking isn't about the victim though, it's about the stalker. No quality or shortcoming in the stalker's victim can make them more likely to be stalked because the problem lies in the the stalker's own mental problems.

Not getting at you, just reminding you that nobody can be too boring to be fixated on by a nutter.
Can I have a cup of tea then?. I'm stood outside.
 
Top