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  1. ITV Report

New powers to stop stalkers before they strike?

Credit: PA

The father of a young woman from Cheltenham who was murdered by her ex boyfriend has urged MPs to pass new laws offering more protection for victims of stalking.

Hollie Gazzard was murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend in 2014. Credit: Family

20-year-old Hollie Gazzard was stabbed to death at the hair salon where she worked in 2014. Her father Nick has called for more powers for police to intervene sooner to protect victims as the new bill is debated by Parliament.

Nick Gazzard says Hollie's ex, Asher Maslin, had become obsessed with the 20-year-old. He believes that if police had been able to intervene earlier Hollie could still be alive.

Anyone can be stalked although we are more aware of the famous faces. Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and singer Lily Allen have all been at the receiving end of threats and unwanted attention.

Former ITV New West Country presenter Alexis Bowater was also targeted. She was stalked by a man in 2010. He sent her a string of abusive emails and she was left fearing for her life. The man was later jailed for four years.

She has now become a campaigner to help other people in similar situations.

Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston is aiming to introduce a new law giving police more powers to intervene when someone is being stalked. The Stalking Protection Bill is making its way through Parliament. It is being debated in the House of Commons for its second reading today, 18 January 2018.

It is aimed to help those stalked by strangers.

Breaching the new order could result in the stalker being convicted of a criminal offence with the possibility of a prison sentence of up to five years.