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Mum of murdered beautician: I want to save other lives

PUBLISHED: 15:48 05 May 2010 | UPDATED: 15:39 16 August 2010

STALKING victims are set to benefit from a new helpline set up in memory of a beautician murdered by her ex-boyfriend

STALKING victims are set to benefit from a new helpline set up in memory of a beautician murdered by her ex-boyfriend.

The service has been launched by Trisha Bernal, whose 22-year-old daughter Clare was killed by a former lover who harassed her before shooting her dead in Harvey Nichols store in 2005.

Shortly before her death Miss Bernal, who lived at her father Martin's home in High Beeches, Orpington, reported security guard Michael Pech to police but was advised to drop charges of threats to kill.

Her mother said the helpline, which will collaborate with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and Network for Surviving Stalking, would give specialist advice to victims of stalking.

"It has to be specific to stalking so that anyone who feels at risk - men, women, teenagers - knows exactly what it is, stalking," she said. "Then they can be advised on how to deal with it, how to recognise danger signs."

The helpline, part-funded by the Home Office, was developed by anti-stalking charities and police. There will be a phone number for victims and each police force will have a single point of contact.

Miss Bernal, a former West Kent College student, was shot in the head repeatedly by 30-year-old Pech before he turned the gun on himself.

Her mother, who launched the scheme last Thursday, blamed the authorities for not taking account of the risks he posed.

On the Protection Against Stalking website, Mrs Bernal wrote: "I have since learned that stalking is taken far more seriously in other countries and considered as high risk.

"Thorough assessments are carried out and protection for the victim is paramount. One of the most dangerous times for the victim is after the perpetrator comes out of prison. Yet this was never taken into account in Clare's case.

"I truly believe the system failed to deliver justice for Clare, but while I cannot bring Clare back I am determined to do whatever I can to ensure other victims of stalking and harassment are better protected, that people will listen - and prevent other victims having their lives destroyed or taken away, leaving family and friends devastated."

For more information, go to www.protectionagainststalking.org kate.nelson@archant.co.uk

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