'My life was made hell' - victim speaks out after ex-footballer jailed for stalking

A stalker who kept turning up at his ex-partner's address, leaving her in fear, has been jailed after police caught him in the act.

Shayne Bradley, aged 41 and from Gloucester, admitted stalking the victim over a four-month period, involving serious alarm or distress.

His behaviour included being near her home, her friend's house, repeated telephone calls and abusive emails. Due to concerns with his escalating behaviour, Gloucestershire Constabulary used surveillance as part of the investigation.

At Gloucester Crown Court, it was heard how Bradley also set up a fake dating profile to try to contact her.

The stalking happened between 22 September 2020 and 29 January 2021. The victim saw Bradley on numerous occasions in hedges near her home, driving by her house and parking nearby.

Shayne Bradley is a former professional footballer, seen here playing for Mansfield Town in 2001. Credit: PA

In the most recent incident, evidence showed the former professional footballer approaching the fence running behind the victim's address.

Bradley was arrested and charged with stalking. He pleaded guilty on 5 March 2021 and on 8 April was jailed for two years and six months and handed a five-year restraining order. On release he will be put on licence.

Following the hearing, the victim has spoken about her ordeal to try to give others confidence to ask for help.

She said: "We first met in September 2019 and he was a charmer and won me over, but he put himself on a pedestal and said my family and friends didn't have my best interests at heart.

"Eventually his possessive nature began to shine through and it escalated from there. I tolerated his behaviour for a year on and off. I knew it was never going to work, but I did care for him which was always the hard part.

"I knew that when this would end it would not be an easy ride, but little did I know he would go to the extent he did.

"After all contact ended and I changed my number, that's when he started following me and watching my house. Events that followed will stay with me forever.

"He has always played the victim, lying and deflecting attention from himself. The lies he told about me were horrific and he ruined my life, so it is important that people know the real Shayne Bradley...

"Once the investigation began I knew I could not give in and that I had to follow this through to the bitter end.

"I don't think he realises that his actions in the past few months have had a ripple effect on my life, my family and no doubt his family too.

"I have felt an overwhelming responsibility to put an end to his behaviour toward women. If I can help any other woman by making them aware of this man and his cold calculated behaviour then that is good enough for me."

Investigating officer Detective Constable Katie McGurk said: "These type of offences strike fear and lasting emotional and psychological damage and this has been emphasised by the victim personal statement bravely read out by the victim today.

"Having to change your everyday tasks and not feeling safe is horrific and something that will probably always stay with the victim. I hope that the result will offer her some closure and that the restraining order provides her with some reassurance.

Joanne Pearce, a Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS South West, said: "Shayne Bradley demonstrated that he was an abusive man who refused to accept his relationship with the victim was over. We see cases time and time again where defendants are not allowing their ex-partners to move on with their lives. 

"This obsessive behaviour is abuse, pure and simple. We hope that successful prosecutions like this will encourage stalking victims not to suffer in silence, and reassure them that the police and CPS take all such allegations extremely seriously."

Police advise people to report stalking and harassment by phoning them on 101 as soon as possible and to also tell other people what's happening. In an emergency, dial 999.

Remember 'STOP'

Put a stop to stalking and harassment by remembering STOP:

  • S - say no: Tell the person once that you do not want further contact and then do not respond to them any more.

  • T - take notes: Keep a diary of everything that happens and save evidence.

  • O - options: Call the confidential National Stalking Helpline freephone on 0808 802 0300. Helpline advisers can discuss your options with you.

  • P - police: Stalking behaviour is against the law. You can report it to the police who can take action. If you ever feel in immediate danger then call 999.