Murder victim’s mum sets up stalker helpline

PUBLISHED: 15:12 10 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:02 12 August 2010

THE mother of a beautician who was killed by an ex-boyfriend is helping to set-up an advice line for victims of stalking. Tricia Bernal,

THE mother of a beautician who was killed by an ex-boyfriend is helping to set-up an advice line for victims of stalking.

Tricia Bernal, whose 22-year-old daughter Clare was killed as she worked in Harvey Nichols store, Knightsbridge, is planning to launch a national helpline in April.

It will be run by her charity Protection Against Stalking, formerly the CRT Trust, which she helped to start in 2008 with relatives of other stalking victims.

Clare, who lived in her father Martin's home in High Beeches, Orpington, shortly before her death in September 2005, reported security guard Michael Pech to the police for harassment, but she was advised by the courts to drop charges of threats to kill.

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

She said: "It has to be specific to stalking so that anyone who feels at risk - men, women, teenagers - they know exactly what it is, stalking.

"Then they can be signposted and advised on how to deal with it, how to recognise the danger signs."

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.

After her death, Mrs Bernal, from Kent, criticised the authorities for not taking account of the risks he posed. On the Protection Against Stalking website by Mrs Bernal writes: "I have since learned that 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 whilst 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."

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