Victim speaks of stalking ordeal

By Forester Reporter   |   Reporter   |
Tuesday 22nd February 2022 7:00 am
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Gavin Eyles
Gavin Eyles was described as a bully by a judge. (Gloucestershire Police )

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A Forest woman who was put through hell by a stalker has spoken of the “invasive and scary” ordeal.

Last week her abuser, Gavin Eyles, was banned from coming into Gloucestershire and barred from contacting her after a court granted a restraining order.

Gloucestershire Police described the actions of the 37-year-old Eyles as “despicable”.

Eyles has been on remand so has already served the two years eight months jail term he was given.

Speaking after sentence was passed, his victim said: “This whole experience, although earth-shattering, has taught me many things in regards to stalking and its effects.

“Stalking is not just someone stood under a light outside your house – it’s small subtle events such as texts, calls, flowers at your door, streaming sites you watch being hacked and monitored. It’s invasive and scary. It can involve ex-partners but also neighbours or work colleagues or strangers.

“Without reporting it I feel so many others experiencing stalking can become lost, confused and unsure if they are at risk, feeling they won’t be believed or taken seriously. But believe me they will.

“There are amazing people working hard to stop these actions and too many people have been hurt for this not to be taken seriously. If anyone, for any reason, feels they are ever not safe or something isn’t right I implore them to speak out. The more awareness of this there is, the more chance these individuals can be stopped and people can be safe.”

Detective Inspector Angela Middlewood said Eyles’ persistent and obsessive behaviour was a controlling form of abuse.

She said: “His despicable actions caused a significant amount of distress and harm to the victim.

“It’s not flattering to be harassed or stalked, it’s unwanted and unwarranted behaviour that causes fear.

“These actions can have a devastating impact, and cause lasting emotional and psychological harm to a person.

“I hope that the outcome of this case and restraining order will offer the victim some closure and reassurance.

“We work with partner agencies who can offer victims of stalking further guidance and continued support.

“We’re hopeful that prosecutions like this will encourage other stalking victims not to suffer in silence, and reassure them that the police and partner agencies take all such allegations extremely seriously.”

Throughout the investigation and court process the victim has been supported by an Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworker (ISAC). In Gloucestershire there is a multi-agency approach to tackling stalking in order for agencies to work together and understand the motivation behind behaviour and the risk posed.

The Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworker (ISAC) for Gloucestershire said: “I have witnessed first-hand the impact this man’s coercive behaviour has had on the victim.

“It’s affected every area of her life.

“I am in awe of the way she has patiently and consistently continued to report Eyles’ unwanted contact to the police; the way she has given statements to officers every time there has been a new incident of stalking; the way she has given her time and energy to engaging with the criminal justice system – which at times has been extremely challenging.

“This whole process has been exhausting for her but she believes in justice and in standing up for what is right.

“She was prepared to give evidence in court in front of a man who has terrified her.

“As a result of her bravery and tenacity, Eyles has finally been convicted of coercive control and stalking. He pleaded guilty to these offences due to the evidence against him.

“These convictions are now on his record - it means any other woman who may consider entering a relationship with Eyles can be aware of his history and make an informed choice by making a Clare’s Law application.

“This is a scheme which allows the police to disclose information to someone if they are believed to be at risk of domestic abuse – friends and family can also make an application.”

Always report stalking and harassment as soon as possible and tell other people what’s happening.

“You can report this online by visiting www.gloucestershire.police.uk/ or by calling 101. In an emergency always call 999.

“If you’re not sure if you’re being stalked contact the www.suzylamplugh.org/pages/category/national-stalking-helpline or 0808 802 0300.”

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme gives any member of the public the right to ask the police if their partner may pose a risk to them. It is often called ‘Clare’s Law’ after the landmark case that led to it.

This scheme also allows a member of the public to make an enquiry into the partner of a close friend or family member.

For more information on this visit: www.gloucestershire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/daa/domestic-abuse/alpha2/request-information-under-clares-law/

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