Louise Minchin described stalker's threats as 'truly bloody chilling'
Louise Minchin has described the experience of being threatened by a stalker as "truly bloody chilling."
She said she has decided to speak up to help victims with similar experiences know that they "are not alone", reports Wales Online.
She told The Daily Telegraph: “The reason I am choosing to do so is to send a clear message to anyone who has been a victim of similar abuse that they are not alone, they are not powerless, and those trolls who send violent threatening messages can be identified, can be caught and can be sent to prison.”
In December, ex-soldier Carl Davies, 44, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for the harassment of Mrs Minchin and her family. Mr Davies sent threats to both Mrs Minchin’s and her teenage daughter Mia’s social media accounts in July 2020.
The messages included graphic threats and information that showed Mr Davies knew where the family lived and had visited the location.
“I am so careful about my personal life. I never say exactly where I live, very rarely post pictures of the girls or say anything overly identifying in interviews or on air,” Mrs Minchin told the paper.
“Suddenly, here was this stranger who knew things you could never have got from just Googling me. The details he had about where I live were chilling, he could have only known them if he had been stood right outside my house.”
Mrs Minchin and her family were on holiday when the messages were received. She said her daughter Mia “desperately didn’t want to go home” and once they arrived back the family felt like prisoners in their own home for weeks.
The police investigation lasted for nine months before Davies was charged.
Mrs Minchin also said she was “wracked with guilt” and “hated that my profile meant Mia was having to go through all this”. She said she considered leaving her job at BBC Breakfast but her daughters told her not to “let him win”.
“It’s thanks to them that I didn’t just quit that week,” she told the paper.
Mrs Minchin said “if anything good” could come from the experience it was “the clear message that perpetrators don’t always stay anonymous; they can be prosecuted”.
“Mia and I have both needed help to cope with what we’ve been through and are doing much better now, though it has left a mark,” she said.
In a statement after the court proceedings, Louise said: “The sentencing today of a man who made horrific threats online against my daughter and I, marks the end of what has been a very distressing time for both of us.
“I would like to thank North Wales Police and The Crown Prosecution Service for their hard work and for successfully investigating and prosecuting the case.
“I hope it sends a clear message that people who make violent threats on social media can be found, can be prosecuted and can expect a prison sentence.”
Mold Crown Court heard how in one message to Louise Minchin, he wrote: “Move or you’re f****d”, while in another he said: “your daughter will definitely be raped”, followed by their home address, the village they lived in, and the cars that were in their driveway at the time.
Commenting on one of Louise’s photos, he said: “You can see your garden from there”, showing he was aware of were they lived, the court heard.
The I’m A Celebrity 2021 contestant – who left BBC Breakfast in September after 20 years – and her daughter said the stalking had a “horrific, devastating, and lasting impact” and were still “traumatised” by the “harrowing” experience. They suffered from a “sense of deep distress” more than a year on, the judge was told.
Prosecutor Brian Treadwell said: “The family do not feel safe and perhaps never will.”
Passing the sentence, Her Honour Judge Nicola Saffman handed Davies a prison sentence of two years and eight months and an indefinite restraining order.
She said: “Clearly they would have been terrified by that, especially because it’s clear you knew where they lived and knew the details of cars that were on their drive.
“As a result they are both now hyper-vigilant, they still have a sense of deep distress one year on and the family still don’t feel safe.”
Davies, of Flint, North Wales, had previously been convicted in 2017 of stalking another woman and for biting his father on the arm in 2019, the court heard.
He was due to face trial at Caernarfon Crown Court for two counts of stalking the presenter and her daughter but changed his pleas to guilty before a jury was sworn in.
Duncan Bould, mitigating for Davies, said he sustained PTSD while serving with the armed forces in Iraq.
He said Davies, who attended court with his father, had never received treatment for the condition – being partly diagnosed in 2017 but only having his condition fully recognised during a psychiatric examination to assist with the sentencing.
Judge Saffman added she had taken Davies’ PTSD into account in sentencing and told probation officers he should be offered treatment options upon his release.