Harborough mum whose daughter was murdered by her ex-boyfriend stalker is urging stalking victims – don’t suffer in silence
Dr Sue Hills is speaking out to support National Stalking Awareness Week
A battling Harborough mum whose daughter was murdered by her ex-boyfriend stalker is urging stalking victims – don’t suffer in silence.
Dr Sue Hills, 59, is speaking out to support National Stalking Awareness Week.
And for Sue the growing stalking threat is highly personal and very emotional after her daughter Alice Ruggles, 24, was killed by her soldier ex-boyfriend in Gateshead in October 2016.
“It’s very important to me and it should be very important to us all to highlight and publicise the extremely serious crime of stalking.
“We have to keep it in the public eye and on the public stage,” said Sue, of Tur Langton, near Market Harborough.
“There’s always an outcry when people get murdered – but then it goes away and it gets forgotten about.
“We have just have to keep plugging away to try to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“Stalking is something that we just need to stop.
“Part of the problem is that stalking is still a dirty word,” said Sue, a teacher.
“It used to be like that with drink-driving.
“Too many people turned a blind eye to drink-driving.
“Well, we cannot turn a blind eye to stalking – it’s got to be called out.
“So if you see someone stalking somebody – call them out, try to stop them.
“The police have improved over the last five years.
“In the past officers were going to see stalkers and telling them not to do it again – and it didn’t work.
“But the police are getting better and treating this huge problem more seriously,” said Sue, who set up the Alice Ruggles Trust to combat stalking and coercive control after her daughter was murdered.
“The mindset and culture of people and society have to change.
“Stalking is terrible for victims – and very frightening.
“The Covid pandemic over the last year has, unfortunately, given lots of opportunities for stalkers.
“It’s been a very tough time for people who are being targeted.
“Domestic abuse offences are said to have soared during the lockdowns.
“And stalking is an extension of domestic abuse.
“People who wield control in a bad relationship lose that when their partner ends it.
“So stalking is often about them trying to get that control back again,” said Sue.
“A staggering 94 per cent of female homicide victims in this country have been stalked – almost always by an ex-partner.
“That is a very scary statistic.
“It really does make you sit up and think.
“Stalkers definitely need specialist help as well.
“Bad relationships end all the time – it’s a fact of everyday life.
“It’s OK to feel hurt when your relationship ends.
“Some people may feel vengeful, too, when their partner finishes with them.
“That may be understandable.
“But it is totally wrong to act on your feelings and take it further,” insisted Sue, who bravely campaigns week in week out to try to ensure nobody else is cruelly murdered as Alice was.
“We need to talk a lot more about relationships.
“There’s a lot of focus on how to find Mr Right for young women.
“But hardly anything is said about how to get rid of Mr Wrong.
“We are just launching vital new lessons in schools trying to stop and head off stalking and criminal obsessions before they happen.
“We have to positively and actively act and get the message out there that stalking and coercive behaviour should not and will not be tolerated.
“If we can make a difference in just one case then all the work, time and effort we put in will have been worth it.
“We will continue to campaign and to fight for what we believe in.”