This week, after 21 years of stalking his university girlfriend, David Brett has finally been put in jail. For 40 months.
Philomena Willetts endured 21 years of being stalked, during which time Brett poured paint thinner over her car, threw bricks through the windows of her mother’s house, attacked her new boyfriends, sent her a card to mark the birth of her daughter, told her colleagues that she was a sex offender and spread rumours about her husband being a paedophile Earlier this week he was sentenced to 40 months. Having already spent 17 months in a psychiatric unit, Willetts says she expects him to be out on licence within three months.
At the conclusion of Britain’s longest running stalking case, Willetts, now 41, commented: “I wish he had got longer. He took away 21 years of my life and that’s all he gets.”
Having already spent 17 months in a psychiatric unit, Willetts says she expects him to be out on licence within three months
“I am one of the lucky ones,” she added. “He did not hate me enough to kill me.”
Brett met Willetts in 1995 at Leeds University. Their romance only lasted a few months after she broke up with him for being too possessive. Afterwards, he started bombarding her with flowers, cards and calls before turning violent. He continued to torment Willetts even after he was given a lifetime injunction in 2005, ordering him to stay away from her, flying regularly between Holland, where he lived at the time, to the UK to stalk her.
At the trial, he admitted to three breaches and two further counts of stalking, as well as assaulting a police officer when he was arrested last year.
Addressing the police’s response to her case, Willetts explained, “The police told me I needed to help myself, suggested I change my name by deed poll, that my situation and what I was going through was low risk.” Laura Richards, the founder and director of stalking charity Paladin, said Brett’s sentencing was “unacceptable”, adding: “All too often victims are let down and further victimised by the very system that should protect them.”