(U.K.) Amy Lees answered a knock at her front door and a man burst in, grabbed her by the throat and threatened to rape her. The sicko fantasist had been led to believe she was keen to take part in a sordid sex game. She fought him off — but he was just one of hundreds of strangers who kept turning up on her doorstep for months demanding that she had sex with them.
Traumatised Amy was the victim of a vicious internet stalker who had plastered her name, photos and home address on websites offering her up for weird role-play fantasies. And, shockingly, the stalker was her ex-boyfriend Khalid Hussain — who she had turned to for help when she felt besieged, scared and vulnerable in her home.
Amy has bravely waived her anonymity to tell her horrifying story to The Sun. She said: "For nine months I was stalked. It was the worst time of my life. I was trapped and frightened. I wouldn't wish that terror on my worst enemy. It was a truly horrifying experience."
Amy, a 31-year-old barmaid, first met care worker Hussain, 30, via a dating website in October 2009.
She said: "I had just come out of a relationship and wanted to have fun so I joined the site. I got chatting to Khalid. He seemed very kind and sweet. After a couple of weeks chatting on MSN and Facebook I invited him round for dinner. We chatted for hours and by the end of the evening we were a couple. He was very attentive and sent me bouquets of flowers every week."
But they began having arguments and split up quite regularly. Three months after their meeting, Amy ended the relationship. She said: "While we were apart I went on Facebook and noticed a friend request from a man called Simon. Although I didn't know him, I replied because I was flattered to get male attention. We started emailing and texting. He wanted a sexy picture so, stupidly, I sent him a picture of myself in underwear. As soon as I hit send, I regretted it."
The next day Simon put the picture on Amy's Facebook wall under the caption: "Here's my new girlfriend I'm going to f*** the a*** off her." Her voice shaking, Amy said: "I was shocked, took the photo down and texted Simon telling him to leave me alone. He texted back saying, 'I'm going to have my fun, you f***ing bitch, wait and see.' Seeking emotional support, I got back with Khalid and he was really supportive. I felt safer knowing he was there."
Days later Amy started getting texts from Simon calling her disgusting names. Amy said: "Things were terrible and I felt as if I needed somebody to be there for me — but Khalid was becoming very controlling. I knew I had to end things with him for good. "We parted as friends and stayed in touch. Every time I was contacted by Simon I'd tell Khalid, desperate for support."
Amy called the police about the harassment and they shut down her Facebook account while they investigated. But in February 2010 things took a menacing turn when men — often up to 20 a day — started arriving at her house wanting to have sex with her. Amy said: "When the first person came to the door asking me for sex I was so gobsmacked I just closed it in his face. But the second and third time it happened I knew it was probably down to Simon. I was so confused and vulnerable. I became petrified and would always check from my upstairs window who was at the door before I opened it. I kept a frying pan at hand, so I felt protected, and friends would stay over so I felt safer. The police were still involved but there seemed to be little they could do. I became a quivering wreck as the men knocked at the door and shouted obscenities through my letterbox. I hardly slept and every day became a battle. I became too weak and frightened to leave the house.
"About four months after the men started arriving, there was a knock on the door. I opened it a crack and saw a respectable-looking man in his forties. He grabbed me by the throat, said he was going to rape me and pushed me inside the house. I tried to fight him off and my friend, who was in my house at the time, ran to help me. The man realised his mistake and stepped away, whispering, 'I'm sorry. I thought I was talking to you on the internet. I thought this is what you wanted'.
"He ran out of the house and I managed to get his registration number and call the police. I put panic alarms supplied by the police all over the house and added a chain to the door. They also put a sign up on my door explaining that any internet directions to my house were a hoax."
The man was arrested but not charged because he had been talking to someone online who had set up a fake profile. That someone turned out to be Hussain — and he had set up many other profiles in her name. He had used photos from her Facebook account and given out her home address.
He was jailed for two years nine months in September last year after admitting harassment.
There were 53,000 cyber-stalking allegations recorded in 2009 and experts believe the actual number could be ten times this. New laws are set to be introduced to combat the crime.
Amy said: "The shock of knowing my ex-boyfriend was behind all of this left me feeling physically sick. He had written that I was into rape re-enactment along with numerous sordid sexual acts. It made me feel disgusted. He had seemed kind but all along he was evil and dangerous. I'm glad he is in jail and can't do that to anyone else — but if I had been the judge I would have given him life. I still find it very difficult to trust anyone. I sleep in the room with my four Staffordshire bull terriers and don't like going out on my own."
Amy is now making a fresh start, having found a new man. But she warned: "It is so important that cyber stalking is taken seriously because we are all at risk."
If you think you are being stalked, it is vital to act now.
For more information and to get help in the U.K. contact the Suzy Lamplugh Trust at suzylamplugh.org or 020 7091 0014