Post Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:14 pm

stalking cop gets 3+ years ... _1_3177416

Published on Sunday 23 October 2011 06:01

‘Stalking cop who made my life hell’

A VICTIM of a policeman who stalked vulnerable women by sending them explicit text messages says the harassment turned her from a confident and outgoing person into “a nervous wreck”.

Eaton Bray mum Maria Snow, 48, who has waived her right to anonymity, was subjected to a daily barrage of texts and phone calls from former Leighton Buzzard PC Mark Wilkie after he attended an emergency at her home.

On Monday, Wilkie, 51, was jailed for three years and four months at Cambridge Crown Court after being convicted of sending texts and making heavy breathing phone calls to 12 women, but it is thought there may have been more than 50 victims.

Wilkie, who used a stolen pay-as-you-go phone so as not to be traced, admitted 12 counts of misconduct in public office from 2008 to 2010.

Many of his victims’ details had been taken from the police database, and included victims of domestic abuse and missing teenagers.

Wilkie began contacting Ms Snow, an events organiser at Dunstable Town Council, after attending an emergency call to a domestic disturbance at her home in February last year.

“I received a text message saying, ‘You’re totally gorgeous and sexy,’” she said.

“I texted back saying they had the wrong number, and got a reply saying, ‘No I haven’t Maria’.

“It turned into six months of texts and phone calls, every night and day. It was mental cruelty.”

Her suspicion fell on every man she knew, she said, from “friends’ husbands, to someone at the gym, to people I worked with”. The stress and anxiety even caused her hair to break off and fall out.

“I didn’t want to change my phone number because I had had it for 20 years and used it for my work, and my phone wouldn’t let me block the calls.

“He started with one call a day and within a month it had gone up to once an hour. It was like a drip, drip torture. Two months in I texted back and said, ‘I’m in the middle of a horrible divorce, could you please stalk me in six months’ time?’

“My friends would phone him and threaten him, but it didn’t make any difference.

“There was one time that I answered the phone as I was worried it might have been one of the children trying to contact me, and it was him.

“He said, ‘Hi, it’s me,” and I almost threw up on the spot.

“You just go into a whole world of doubt and suspicion, and it makes you realise how vulnerable you are.”

The contact stopped abruptly at the beginning of August last year, and at the end of December she had a phone call from the police.

“They said they’d arrested Mark Wilkie. They’d been into his locker at work and found a phone with all the numbers.”

Wilkie, of Leary Crescent, Newport Pagnell, served as a police officer for nearly 30 years and received several commendations for bravery and exceptional service.

In mitigation, defence counsel Hector Maclean-Watt told the court his client’s long-term relationship had broken down shortly before the offences started and his marriage had ended four years earlier.

The jailing of her tormentor, who she describes as “a pervert”, has brought little relief or joy for Ms Snow.

“I can’t be pleased at the sentence. I just feel numb and I wish I didn’t have to be involved,” she said. “I actually don’t believe I trust anyone any more.

“But I hope this will make the police take this kind of situation seriously, and I hope it stands as a lesson to other people out there.”