A student has spoken out about a “really scary” ordeal after being stalked by a driving instructor who drove more than 200 miles to her university halls and paid hackers to access her social media account.
Maisie Relph said she was left feeling paranoid and developed an eating disorder after the experience.
She has revealed details of the ordeal in an interview days after 53-year-old Graham Mansie was jailed for 20 months.
The driving instructor had pleaded guilty to breaching a restraining order by travelling from London to York, where he was spotted sitting on the ground outside Ms Relph’s campus accommodation.
Ms Relph has now told the Daily Mail she is “glad” of the sentence, but worried about what will happen when he is released.
“What if he has been stewing for all that time? My biggest concern is if he doesn’t accept that he’s done anything wrong, except love me?” Ms Relph, from Beckenham in southeast London, told the newspaper.
“That is the most terrifying thing of all.”
During the ordeal, Ms Relph said she was advised by police to change her appearance - for example not wearing clothes Mansie had seen her in - and consider doing lectures from home. She cut her hair in a bid to hide from him.
“All of this just added to the feelings of paranoia. I kept looking over my shoulder, expecting to see him or his car. Even now, every time I see a red Ford Fiesta I can feel the anxiety build. Is it him?” she told the Daily Mail.
“My whole first year at university was ruined by him. Everything was affected. If my flatmates hadn’t rallied round I would definitely have quit university, but it affected them, too. Their parents were worried about them. No one wants their child to be sharing a flat with the girl who has the stalker.”
The 19-year-old said she developed an eating disorder as a result of the stalking. “I think it was that there was so much in my life that I couldn’t control. I’m getting help for that now, but it has been a nightmare.”
Ms Relph said the ordeal started when she picked driving lessons back up after lockdown, with his behaviour escalating from asking her out for a drink to contacting her on social media - including with an Instagram account that was a “countdown” until he would see her next.
Her parents contacted police after Mansie’s car - with his driving school logo on it - was spotted parked near their street and the instructor turned up at Ms Relph’s father’s house after being confronted about a text professing his love.
It was at this point things got “really scary” when she was miles away from home at university in York, the 19-year-old victim told the newspaper.
More evidence emerged of Mansie’s behaviour when he was arrested. “He told the police that he’d been in York, walking round my accommodation block on campus, hoping to see me. He’d discovered where I lived because he’d posed as a student to get into the WhatsApp groups,” Ms Relph said.
He had also set up a fake Instragram account to pose as a student and paid hackers to break into Ms Relph’s account to accept his friend request.
One night, despite a restraining order, he was spotted sitting on the ground outside her university accommodation and threatened to harm himself.
Mansie, from Beckenham, was jailed for 20 months at York Crown Court on 21 September. He was given 16 months for breach of a restraining order, two months for possession of blades, and his suspended sentence of two months was activated, which were all to run consecutively.