The parents of a woman, who was stalked by her ex-boyfriend who eventually murdered her in her own home in Gateshead, have welcomed new measures which will block offenders from contacting their victims while police investigate the case.

Alice Ruggles was murdered by Trimaan Dhillon who'd relentlessly stalked her for months.

Stalkers could be slapped with court orders being brought into force to stop them in their tracks while they are investigated.

Officers will be able to apply to magistrates for a Stalking Protection Order (SPO), blocking alleged perpetrators from contacting or approaching their victims while a probe into their behaviour continues.

Alice's parents, who live in Leceistershire, hope the new safety protection orders will protect others.

The measures have been introduced in a bid to act at "the earliest opportunity" to protect victims from further approaches and take tougher steps on stalkers.

Usually in place for a minimum of two years, those who breach the civil order could end up behind bars for five years.

Alice Ruggles was murdered by Trimaan Dhillon who'd relentlessly stalked her for months. Credit: Northumbria Police

Campaigners and victims welcomed the news, but warned orders would only be effective if action was taken quickly and many still did not understand the dangers of stalking.

Clive Ruggles, of the Alice Ruggles Trust, described the orders as a "powerful new tool", but said it was "critical" there was no delay in arresting perpetrators who breach them.

He said the existence of SPOs could have made a "critical difference" in the case of his 24-year-old daughter, who was murdered by her jealous ex-boyfriend.

Any other response may well escalate the risk to the victim."

Clive Ruggles, Alice Ruggles' father.
Alice Ruggles was killed by her jealous ex-boyfriend, who stalked her for a number of months. Credit: Family photo

Professor Jane Monckton-Smith, who specialises in researching homicide, stalking and coercive control at the University of Gloucestershire, said:

I think the orders could be really useful if they are used correctly, but breaches could put victims in danger and must be taken seriously by the courts.

Professor Jane Monckton-Smith
1 in 5

of women aged 16 and over in England and Wales have experienced some form of stalking. Source: ONS

1 in 10

of men aged 16 and over in England and Wales have experienced some form of stalking. Source: ONS

It is estimated one in five women and one in 10 men aged 16 and over in England and Wales have experienced some form of stalking, according to a crime survey carried out on behalf of the Office for National Statistics.

As well as a ban on pursuing victims, courts could use the new ruling to force perpetrators to seek professional help and urgent cases could be fast tracked with an interim order imposed.