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  1. ITV Report

Stranger's website offer escalated to terrifying stalking ordeal for TV forensic psychologist Kerry Daynes

Kerry Daynes' terrifying stalking ordeal began as a fan's intrusive offer before escalating over several years to the chilling suspected murder of her pet and the message "Jill Dando" being scrawled on her home fence.

The criminal psychologist was targeted after gaining a public profile through appearing on television.

But Kerry told ITV News her experience could happen to anyone with a social media account.

She was first contacted in 2011 by a "complete stranger" offering her the chance to buy domains for websites he had set up in her name as fan sites after seeing her on TV.

Her rejection of the offers led to an angry exchange and a bombardment of intrusive messages.

She told ITV News the man shared information online that "made it clear he knew I was single, I lived alone, knew what clothes I was wearing. Clearly he was stalking me, following me".

Kerry Daynes received a letter demanding £26,000 from her stalker. Credit: ITV News

Kerry contacted the police before going through the courts to get the websites shut down.

But the cyber stalking appeared to continue with negative comments left on YouTube along with anonymous bad book reviews.

Then in 2016 the abuse moved from online stalking offline and came right to Kerry's door.

"A whole series of things happened in 2016. Very quickly, one after the other," she said.

She was walking her dog when a car crossed the street and nearly hit the animal.

"Someone tried to run me over and I looked in the car window and I recognised it as him," she said.

A few days later she received a letter with a demand for £26,000.

"For his costs, as he saw it, in stalking me," Kerry said.

"He literally charged me by the hour, it's almost funny, for the time he'd spent researching me and being taken to court by me."

A week later she discovered her cat in her garden "in a twisted position, dead".

She remembered: "He looked like he had been thrown over my fence.

"And it wasn't until a while later that actually whilst I was putting my bins out I looked at the other side of the fence and somebody had written the words Jill Dando.

The 1999 murder of Crimewatch presenter Jill Dando remains unsolved. Credit: PA

"Clearly, you know, an infamous case. A woman who, like me, appeared on TV in crime-related programmes.

"An unsolved murder case. How else can you interpret that?"

The man received a 12-month harassment notification in 2016.

Kerry said her experience underlined the new dangers of gaining a profile on social media.

"You can become a target simply by appearing on television, or having a Twitter account or having a Facebook account," she said.

Cyber stalkers feed off information shared on social media. Credit: PA

"We're all, if you like, public figures these days."

While she said stalking is never the fault of the victims, she urged people to take care when posting about their lives.

"We do have to think about the information that we put out there online," she said.

"Social media, bits of information. Where you're going, what you're planning. Photographs that identify where you live (are) fodder for a cyber stalker."

Kerry said the impact of the cyber invasion is also underestimated.

"People sometimes look at is as virtual stalking, and causes virtual harm. We need to take it seriously," she said.

"Many, many victims of stalking go on to develop PTSD symptoms. And I can understand why."

Kerry added: "Stalking's been described as an assault in slow motion. And I think that's a really excellent description of it.

"Because it feels like a repeated set of blows that you are powerless to stop. You just wait for the next one to come."