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Remembering Clare: stalker victim's mum speaks out

PUBLISHED: 17:21 30 September 2009 | UPDATED: 15:52 16 August 2010

THE mother of a beauty consultant who was shot dead by her obsessive ex boyfriend four years ago says that her loss is still painful, writes Jenny McLarney.

THE mother of a beauty consultant who was shot dead by her obsessive ex boyfriend four years ago says that her loss is still painful, writes Jenny McLarney.

Tricia Bernal, mother of Clare, who was gunned down by her ex Michael Pech in Harvey Nicholls in 2005, says she is still trying to come to terms with her daughter's death.

After months of stalking, Pech, 30, sneaked up behind Miss Bernal, who had lived with her father in Orpington shortly before she died, as she worked at the cosmetics counter in the Knightsbridge department store and shot her in the back of the head.

He then fired three bullets into the 22-year-old's face, before turning the gun on himself.

After pushing for a full inquiry into her daughter's death and setting up a charity for the victims of stalkers, Tricia Bernal told reporters of the intense grief she still faces:

"Clare was at that age where she was not only my daughter but my best friend too, and I miss her so much, the hurt is like a sharp pain which catches you unawares. When I see a bride I think 'Clare will never get married' and when I see a baby I think 'I'll never see Clare's baby.' I feel cheated not only of a beautiful human being, but of our whole future."

Along with her charity, Protection Against Stalking, Tricia has also been tirelessly working with police to provide more protection for victims of stalkers.

With better trained officers and more Family Justice Centres, Mrs Bernal said victims could be given far more help:

She added: "What makes me angry is that Clare was never given any choices, she had no way of protecting herself. She really only had her friends and family to turn to and we all underestimated the danger she was in.

"All I can do now is turn Clare's death into something positive. But even now as I stand up at conferences talking about what happened, it will suddenly hit me and I'll think, 'This is my daughter I'm talking about' and the pain is so intense it takes my breath away.

"I'm doing this for Clare, but it's very hard. Sometimes I almost convince myself she's away travelling, and one day she'll walk through the door and say: 'Hello, Mum!' But that's just my way of coping.

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