A young Fermanagh woman terrorised by a convicted stalker is warning the PSNI they must take victims seriously when new legislation here comes into force.
Stephanie Basnett says she still looks for an escape route when she is in public because of her ordeal.
Manchester police were forced to apologise to the 23-year-old for not taking her concerns seriously when she reported her former boyfriend.
Riagain Grainger from Trillick in co Tryone was jailed last month after he admitted stalking another women.
Stephanie Basnett says her life will never be the same. 'I’m always looking over my shoulder to see if anyone is behind me," she told UTV
"I’m just always on edge … I still have nightmares to this very day." The 23-year-old met her ex Riagain Grainger from Trillick in Co Tyrone when they were teenagers and both ended up at university in Manchester studying film making. But when Stephanie broke up with Grainger things changed leaving her fearing for her life. Steph says Grainger followed her, set up various fake social media accounts, bombarded her with phone calls and texts. She even woke up one night and he was lying beside her in bed with his arms around her.
"I was petrified. I still have PTSD from it. I'm really claustrophobic," she said. Stephanie reported the 22-year-old to Manchester police. She says the alleged stalking only stopped when the Tyrone student met someone else. But Grainger went on to terrorise other women before being jailed for two-and-a-half years after pleading guilty in Manchester to stalking last month after Stephanie and another woman agreed to testify. Stephanie believes had Manchester police taken her seriously the other girls would have been protected. In a statement Greater Manchester Police offered a "sincerely apology to the two women who experienced such a poor level of service".
"They contacted us to report serious allegations which were affecting their lives and we let them down, for that I am truly sorry." Stephanie is now warning the PSNI to listen to victims and not to let the same thing happen here. New legislation was passed last month making stalking a crime in Northern Ireland. "Just take everyone seriously," she said. "Do as much as you physically can to help. I was begging them [Manchester police] to help me. You're supposed to make people feel safe. just try your very best."
The PSNI said it was preparing and training staff and it had learned from other forces experiences of implementing the new laws.