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Friday, 18 December 2015

THE PAIGE ROLLAND CASE. STALKING A BOOK REVIEWER: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

All writers are colleagues unless they cross over into malice. With that in mind, say on...

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If you missed my earlier rant on a book reviewer being bottled by an author over a fucking review, FFS, HERE'S A BLOG POST ABOUT THAT.
   I'll wait for you. You'll be a wee while. By that, I mean a big while. Once you return, you'll be a bigger while scrolling through this post. It's a long one.


*

The verdicts are in. Good. The stalker was guilty and sent to jail, not to a psychiatric facility. That may be a failing of society or a success for society. My sympathy is with the assault victim, not the attacker.
   This rant isn't about stigmatising those with mental illness. Unfortunately, in ripping the piss out of the stalker, and that in a very sweary Scottish way, I leave myself open to bashing someone with severe problems.
   And I see no way around this rusty minefield. Sometimes you take your licks when typing, rather than, as expected, when reading.
   Yes, I leave myself exposed to the gaping wound of bashing someone with severe problems.
   That's someone, with severe problems, who bashed a book reviewer, leaving a gaping wound. Not a professional paid-for book reviewer - though assaulting one would be no-less a crime, even if bound to attract greater media attention.
   A schizophrenic is more likely to self-harm than to harm others. Let's not demonise all schizophrenics as kill-crazy weapon-wielding threats.
   However, I'm not printing a pass to a dedicated stalker. Let's afford no time, tea, or sympathy for a man organised enough to cross most of one country and much of another to stalk and assault someone in her workplace. We'll afford him the jail-time dished out.
   My rant is based on a legal outcome: jail, not hospital. Did this stalker seek to swerve jail by promoting the old insanity plea? I don't care. My sympathy is with the assault victim, not the attacker.
   This is a sweary sweary sweary rant. Stop reading what you don't like, if you wish to avoid the word fuck. Keep reading just to be offended by the swearing? You should fuck off now, and save us all the bother.
   Links are at the end on mental health resources and also on anti-stalking options. It's sad that it came to this. I don't want to write more about the case. But I am fucking going to.

*

Now we've had the verdicts.
   In Scotland, there are three verdicts: guilty, not guilty, and that bastard verdict. Walter Scott's view of the third verdict, not proven, was tempered by his job as a legal eagle. He wrote a novel or two, so I hear.
   It is possible to fall under the banner of diminished responsibility, another way of saying not guilty by reason of insanity. But for that to work in post-Enlightenment Scotland, there must be absolute alienation of reason. It's a thing.

*

Not proven means we think you did it, but we just can't prove it beyond reasonable doubt. The villain frowns on the court steps and claims he hasn't had a chance to clear his name.
   Neither guilty nor innocent, neither fined nor imprisoned, the swine then stumbles home and has his tea. With the journalists gone, he's free to turn that frown upside-down and laugh like a fucking hyena.
   There was absofuckinglutely nae fucking chance of a not proven verdict here. But you know the third option, now.

*

And the winner is...
   Guilty. By a country mile.
   But is this really about verdicts handed down? No. The stalker took the guilty option without dragging proceedings further into the mud. Had he protested innocence, rah coort wid hae haundit him his heid tae play wi'.
   I struggle to type without swearing. When I heard that an author stalked a Scottish reviewer and brained her with a bottle over a fucking book review, I feared for humanity and checked the sources anyway.
   True story.
   And then, with the story confirmed to my satisfaction, I kept looking for updates. Unfortunately, I found them. And I screen-grabbed those in disbelief.

*

A book reviewer named Paige. Neat. A stalker named Dick. Fucking typical.

*

Here's a notion. Don't run up out of a place of spooky danger to insist that everything is okay.

*

Order of events, for those who came in late.
   Author treks from England to Scotland and brains reviewer with a bottle in her workplace. Said author is later liftit by rah polis. Author is huckled intae custody.
   Legal processes unfurl. Author is released to await trial. Then, legal wisdom and plain-baked sense dictate that the author should keep his mooth shut.
   But naw. The self-confessed stalker (of some other woman) begins a long painful soul-searching confessional online.
   And so. We are offered his blog posts on fifty-seven fucking varieties of Seriously Strange.

*

We'll get to that.

*

We aren't watching a movie here.
   As soon as the last witness leaves the room, the lone gunman turns to the camera and glowers as dramatic music fills the world.
   Holy shit, he's the bad guy after all. Not the hero. Gasp.
   No.
   If life were that simple, we'd base criminal investigations on musical taste alone.
   Er...let's not strain the prisons on that point.

*

Time for a fictional outline of events that happened many a time. Legal strategy...
   "Let's play up mental illness, dealing diminished responsibility from the bottom of a thin deck."
   "A thin deck, My Lawyer?"
   "Well of course, My Client. We're not playing with a full deck - that's a reference to mental illness. See what we did, there?"
   I make no assertion that the stalker's solicitor engaged in such a ploy in this case. Or that the stalker did, either. Because I have a boatload of other fish to fry...

*

In my earlier rant, I made it plain that we should avoid stigmatising mental illness. But I won't put up with people taking the fucking piss. Which brings me to blogging.
   Organised blogging.

*

Let us suppose you are arrested for an outlandish crime. Huckled, liftit, and remandit in custody, you are squeezed through the tube o' the justice system. Oot ye tumble to await trial, next year.
   Clarification. You are not toothpaste, and it's not that kind of tube.
   At that point, back on the streets, to avoid hindering your case, you shut the fuck up about it.
   (The original review prompting the assault was removed from goodreads, presumably on the advice of the victim's legal team. I say removed. The details still haunt the web, of course.)
   Even if you accept your guilt and cop the nasty plea, you still wait around for the cogwheels of the state to grind into place. And. You shut the fuck up about it.
   Not this guy.
   Dick - for I won't list his full name in this blog - seemed hell-bent on running up from a place of spooky danger to say everything was okay.
   I blogged about this before. Don't fucking do that. Walk the fuck away. Don't assault Lou in Scotland and go on a blog to write a post called AN APOLOGY FOR SCOTTISH LOU.
   A poem, no less.
  That looks like a public ploy to show remorse in advance of sentencing.
   In mid-August 2015, he announced visual images or videos now accompanied his blog posts. I had to know. So I went to his apology post and saw a video for music by Brahms.
   A scherzo.
   Was this a play on words? Seriously. Was he alluding to the word schizo, the clipped form of schizophrenic...
   The word scherzo has the meaning of a joke, a prank, a trick, a jest, a jape, a lark, going by a quick online translation from Italian to English.
   I play, I joke, I jest...


*

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

*

Was that wordery a bit of a stretch? No. Turns out, the stalker made a play on words after turning his earlier stalking victim's name into a disparaging anagram in the book he typed up. The book he wrote is a bit of a stretch. Typed up seems more fitting.
   On top of that, he made a play on words concerning Paige and the title of another story.


*

I looked at the guy's blog. Still awaiting trial, he went off on a blogging toot in March 2015, blogging two dozen times that month. The surge in posting frequency jumps out at you.
   There's only thorny wild surmise here, but I supposed a legal development at that time. An update in progress, say.
   You might argue he had a change of medication. I might further prompt with a thought on astrological cycles. Or unicycles, for all the difference it makes to the pain of being hit by a bottle.
   Onward.
   And no, I didn't feel like a stalker when I went to his blog. I felt I was reading a stalker's blog. A self-confessed stalker, remember. Now a convicted criminal. There'll be no defamation suit here, thanks very much.
   A stalker. Organised. Observant. Relentless. Harmful. Creepy. Unforgiving. Violent, we know. Ruthless. Blameless, naturally. They always are. Heartless. I'm not here to concoct a long list. It's a long list.

*

Newsflash.
   I've helped out on the cyber-bullying front. Genuine fucking assistance. Convoluted. Your actual toil, digging deep into the geologic record.
   So I'm not one of these nerveless dead-eyed spud-bots, breaking thumbs in electronically wringing hands across the internet, ranting at clouds. All talk and no walk. Fuck that fucking shit.
   Just so you fucking know.

*

I stare at the dick's blog. Whoops, Dick's blog, I seem to be having trouble with my words. Well. Damn. I stare at this cunt's blog, and I know Paigey Lou isn't foaming at the mouth to read the twisted arsehole apology that might just be trying to build itself up into a case for the defence.
   You know, remorseful, apologetic, along with all these other blog posts on Hitler, Napoleon, understanding, the odd book plug...
   The very odd book plug. A very odd blog plug for a very odd book. (Stalking victim is elevated to role of princess in stalker's fantasy fiction. Fetch this semi-fictional woman a pedestal, damn it!) We got there, in the end.

*

Sadly, I hit freefall down the rabbit-hole in trawling the depths of that stalker's blog. I quote here from the stalker himself. These quotations are made under the copyright doctrines of Fair Dealing and Fair Use.
   What?
   I'm allowed to quote from passages for the purpose of non-commercial research, non-commercial private study, criticism, review, quotation, and news reportage. Yes, I always hesitate to use the word journalism.
   Let's go with a combination of criticism and news reportage.
   The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 doesn't list a category for What-the-Shit?!-Levels-of-Fuckbuggery?! I expect a suitable amendment to appear in due course.

*

And so to business. Let's start with a vague recap. We have a quiz show contestant who moves through the world of academia.
   He won a words-and-numbers TV quiz called Countdown in 2006. And some other TV quiz I'd never seen. Countdown has this anagram-based round. He's fond of anagrams.
   Besotted with a woman we'll call 1stVICTIM, the guy starts stalking her. In a forlorn attempt to sweep her off her feet and between the sheets, the stalker invites her onto a quiz show team looking to get on TV.
   "I invited her onto the BBC University Challenge team that I was putting together."
   He wants her on his own personal team, you understand. My interpretation is that she tries to squirrel out of this with a casual unthreatening air of her own.
   But she fills out the quiz paperwork anyway, and he uses the information to foreclose her widowed mother's mortgage, tie the pretty girl to the railway tracks, and twirl his villainous moustache at an Olympic record-breaking rate.
   In my haste to publish, I may have allowed certain elements of this tale to slip out from under me. Okay, sidestep the silent movie melodrama. You see where this is heading. Stalkers operate on information received.

*

For a look at University Challenge, try the movie Starter for 10. Not for all tastes, but, then, nothing is. Fans of the book Starter for Ten rail against the movie. Why? Their fave book is still there, unmolested, on the shelves. But that is an argument for another time. (Especially as the book was titled A Question of Attraction in the USA.)

*

My quotes in bold type are taken from the stalker's blog post, The Benevolent Stalker, published on the 23rd of September 2014. Take note of that date. We'll return to it, after riding many a mile. The blog post made the October headlines in newspapers that devoted far too much time to the piece.
   I'm on record as saying Facebook is for stalkers, cat-obsessives, and cat-obsessed stalkers. The #coffeecentric hang out on #Twitter. Three people used Google+. One of them was a Google employee. I'd write about Snapchat, but I'm out of time.
   Facebook has faces, and a profile pic had to go in with the quiz paperwork. So the stalker thumbed through 1stVICTIM's Facebook pics, trying to pick out the frilliest laciest sexiest combo to go with the staid Victorian quiz format beloved of tens of dozens of University Challenge fans. (They should introduce a landmine sudden-death playoff in the event of a tie.)
   "That evening, I went through her many Facebook pictures."
   Not for the first time, the cynic wagers.
   She wonders which pic he's picked.
   “You’re wearing a low-cut black lace-trimmed top. On your pink lips, a mischievous smile is playing.”
   Pass the sick-bag, Vicar. Pardon me while I arrange a truck with tonnage in the 200-range, to cope with the extra cheese that comes with that quote.
   You'll note that I only quote the stalker there. He's happy to say what he says on his blog, as himself. And he tells us what she says. Or, at least, he tells us what she says.
   Does he put words into the mouths of other people in this narrative, to better-define, shape, and control that narrative? I don't fucking care. Life's too short to worry over that shit, so, in the words of the Lord Chancellor...
   "Ah! but, my good sir, you mustn't tell us what she told you - it's not evidence."
   Sitting here quoting Iolanthe in a stalking story.
   Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. Quoting his version of his victim's words, no, no, no, NO and no the fuck no. But I'm not above quoting the stalker himself. Let's partake of a fascinating insight into the routine of a stalker. For a stalker is nothing without routine.
   "I also frequented the student bar where she worked. I figured out what hours she did each day and went at those times."
   A guy in a relationship with her would agree to meet her there after work, to pick her up and socialise, surely. He's not going to sit watching all the customers perv on his girl all night long.
   But this guy isn't in a regular relationship with that gal.
   She's a captive audience while she's working. He says he went at those times. Each day? I'm guessing so. The way that's written, it's not a stalking manifesto. It's a stalking manifesto.
   Yes, it's weak of me to guess her exact job, folks, but he was stalking her. I don't believe he went to the bar for a hard-to-find combination of booze and salted nuts, only, by sheer coincidence, to see her there pulling pints.
   What luck.
   Dust down your Police MP3 and slap Every Breath You Take on repeat. He'll be watching you from a different corner of the bar, every day of the week. Sting, in more than one interview, tells the world that his creepy ditty is not a love song.
   "A couple of weeks before our University Challenge audition, she unfriended me on Facebook. I was a little shocked and asked her why."
   No shit, Sherlock. Reminder of the blog post title, explaining all this to a wide-eyed audience: The Benevolent Stalker.
   I could conjure up a few variations on that title, to prove a sledgehammer point. The Benevolent Violent Crime Scene. Or The Benevolent Murderer. And so on. But I am done with the sheer fuckery of that title.

*

There is an argument that profanity weakens your argument. The cogent counter-argument to that is FUCK OFF.

*

Back to the story.
   Let's just say his stalking victim was not best-pleased about his behaviour. I surmise, wildly, that she was bar-staff at the student watering-hole, and he'd be served by her when he went for a drink.
   Or he'd try to be served by her when not swerved by her. This is mere fever-dream conjecture, and I make no fucking apologies for that.
   He confesses his feelings for her and she drops out of the quiz team. But let's have this prince amongst men in his own words...
   "She pulled out of the team. We found a replacement and failed the audition anyway (I doubt that her inclusion would have made a difference). My dream of winning University Challenge and impressing the maiden was shattered."
   Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-iiiiiiiiiiiiight.
   Victim rebuffs stalker and stalker struggles to see what the fuss was about. It was vital to his wooing plans to put a team together for a TV quiz.
   Except that, in the final analysis, this essential team playeress wouldn't have made a difference to the team's chances. I see. She means the world to him. Until the world burns.
   Also, as part of the team, there was a chance she'd contribute heavily to winning. A princess, in no need of rescuing by a knight, is busy making a name for herself in TV quiz circles. Can you imagine that? Easily?
   Just an example, but one the stalker fails to contemplate in his dismissive quote. He'd win to impress her. What the fuck is she on the team for? Surely, the audience is in the audience and not on the team. Oh, she's the audience.
   Ah, fuck this.
   Rebuffed, it's over. Movie ends. Roll titles. But wait a bit. Not the end? We're a long way from the start of this fucking saga.
   He's banned from the Student Union for a spree of incidents, and can never see the fair (bar) maid again...except on the streets of the town, here and there.
   According to the stalker, she smiles politely as she passes him in the library. And maybe she does smile, but I don't control that narrative.
   The stalker declared it was clear he had no chance with her. Truth, I'll accept. All is not well in Stalkerland, for up is not up unless it is down. Black is white, cheese is compliment, and the phrase has no chance with becomes in with a chance.
   Watch DUMB AND DUMBER.
   I am facing a riot of sources as I type, and it's best not to think too much about that, because, frankly, there's not enough coffee in the world. Back to quoting...
   "She was prolific on Twitter and it often felt like her tweets were directed at me."
   Hell, I'm prolific on Twitter. My Tweets aren't even directed at the people they are directed at. I Tweet #foodporn and #coffeeporn and #foodporn to go with #coffeeporn. This doesn't mean I'm going to trek across space to sit down and have a #coffee with anyone, grumpy bastard that I am.
   I guard against infecting my fiction with a #coffee hashtag. Twitter, I blame ye.
   In an academic study of the internet, I discovered that the noted philosopher and poet Mr Frederick William Schneider III said, and I quote...
   "Some say she's from Mars. Or one of the seven stars. That shine after 3:30 in the morning. WELL SHE ISN'T."
   There you have it. Just because some say a thing is a particular way, that doesn't make it so. She isn't from Mars or one of the seven stars. Admittedly, Mr Schneider himself may be wrong. I direct my learned friend to my earlier comment on a lack of coffee in the world.
   Well, I looked over the stalker's Twitter. What did I gain from staring at that public space?
   My hazy point is this. The stalker's deluded belief, that generic Tweets carried specific communication to his door, failed to account for three things.
   1) The nature of Twitter.
   2) Communication between people.
   3) The state of affairs back in the real fucking world.
   Her Twitter stream was never directed at him: she was not making merry with Twitter or anything else, including (though not limited to) the internet, lasers, dolphin telepathy, wishful fucking thinking, or undetectable energy derived from hamster-wheel-powered UFO techfuckingnology.
   (Sarcasm is often difficult to detect in print. Even when deployed on an industrial scale.)

*

In the interests of my sanity, if not brevity, I'll let the next section speak for itself. Except when I butt right in.

*

"I wrote love letters to her."
   We've all been there. But not after the realisation that, "Over the next few weeks, when it became clear that I had no chance with her, my behaviour became increasingly erratic."
   He'd accepted that he had no chance, when she left the quiz team. The guy had no chance. Watch DUMB AND DUMBER. Now, cutting the stalker out of her life, she's subjected to bombardment by letter. I don't know how heavy that bombardment was. One shell is enough to slay you.
   "I still had her address from the forms that she filled out for University Challenge."
   Seared into the stalker's brain, no doubt. That's unkind of me. I should save my unkindness for the next quote.
   "I felt a bit guilty using that information, but I wasn’t turning up at her door or anything."
   Again, I warn ye. Don't run up from a scary place to declare that everything is okay. In using the information to send a letter, the stalker isn't declaring love...
   The stalker is declaring I know where you live.
   And his victim's well within the bounds of reason to curtain-twitch as she peeks into a more-hostile world to see if he IS lurking at her door. To fear what she can't see. Because stalking without stalking IS stalking, to the stalked.
   Never to the stalker.
   "I sent a few love letters through the post, rose-themed cards containing poetry and drawings."
   Because letters declaring love after being rebuffed...those aren't creepy enough.
   Slay it with flowers. I don't want to know about the drawings. Or the definition of a few when it comes to the number of letters.
   "I also left messages on her phone."
   Because the part about the letters wasn't creepy enough.
   "That might seem a bit much, but it felt like I would be denying my love if I did nothing."
   And when she denies her love for the stalker by doing this next bit...
   "Eventually, she contacted the police."
   In Stalkerland, that's a minor warning.
   "I was called by a policewoman and told that I had to stop contacting her."
   (Slams head into desk.) What in the red wet fuck of creation possessed him to act this way, and what in the name o' the wee man under the stairs possessed him to fucking blog about it?
   What-the-Shit?!-Levels-of-Fuckbuggery?! (That's not really a question. Asking for a friend.)

*

Many a coffee sustained me through the writing of this blog post. (It took repeated attempts, spread over many days, to reach the summit - Eclectic Ed.)

*

Oh, but it didn't end there. Half a year later, the stalker calculates that 1stVICTIM will attend a graduation ceremony.
   I don't much care for the appellation 1stVICTIM, as I can't say with certainty that this woman WAS his first victim. But the sun is westering, and I must write on.
   He crashes the ceremony, she spots him, and she tries to move around so they aren't in the graduation photo together. But there he is. Clear evidence of stalking. It shouldn't have reached that stage, of course. When he was contacted by the police, he should've faced legal sanctions then.
   A quiet word from the cops was no deterrent. And yes, you can argue direct court action wouldn't have scared him enough anyway. But this is a long and winding road, and we must press to the finishing-tape.
   "After that, I thought long and hard about what I was doing."
   Not long and hard enough, as we shall see. This is the terrain, over in Stalkerland, and lumpy marsh it is.
   "I think that is when I first accepted that I had become a stalker. Before, I had been an admirer."
   This is such a serious subject. All I can do is laugh when I read this tedious fucking stalky bullshit. Before the stalker realised he was a stalker, he was an admirer.
   But surely, once the stalker realises he is a stalker, he has the presence of mind to realise he was as much a stalker before the realisation as he remained after. No. Not at all, and, changing the subject, oh, Alice, unwelcome to Wonderland.
   More from the keyboard of the deluded one...
   "But what does stalking really mean? It seems to mean that you truly love someone who does not love you back."
   Weasel-worded trash. If the stalker believed it meant that, he'd fucking say so. It seems to mean. Pish. And besides, stalking means stalking. As famed philosopher and singer Tina Turner opined, What's love got to do, got to do with it?
   What's love got to do with stalking? My reply is dense and technical. The backside of sweet eff-all. Quote me. I won't charge you royalties on a free blog post.

*

Further into his bloggery, the stalker brought up Sting and that song. Then there was an attempt at setting out two stalls. Benevolent stalking versus malevolent stalking.
   That scary guy following you down the dim-lit street, with a raised weapon...
   Fear not, gentles, for the shadow of a blade is no more than the shadow of a benevolent cucumber. Sandwiches are on offer, not scares, you understand.
   If you are scared by the thought of malevolent cucumber sandwiches, again, fear not. For the business of benevolent stalking contains many bonus points, which, for the fearful, I'll now conveniently list...

*

Nope. Couldn't think of a list, though I struggled to summon one point: benevolent stalking alerts the stalked to being stalked by a stalky fucking stalker. This public information broadcast terminates at the buffers of reason.

*

Sadly, a timeline rears its timely head. We know from the stalker's blog apologia, koff koff, blog post, that he sends his victim a card on Valentine's Day 2014. I believe the card industry does very well out of this manufactured non-holiday.
   He adds a drawing to the card, and light shines upon him. The stalker decides to win his lady fair by including her as a character in a book.
   We're nearing the start of our story. Labyrinthine? I'm glossing over his confession that, earlier in life, he believed in some indefinable yet vast Jewish Conspiracy.
   No, come back audience. I don't mean to paint the stalker as a bad person for his earlier anti-Semitism. He renounced the nastier views from before. Google Damascene Conversion. I'll wait for you.
   Besides, I mean to paint him as a bad person for braining a stranger who wrote a book review. Also, for his earlier stalking. And for his much earlier anti-Semitism.
   Right then, back to the What-the-Shit?!-Levels-of-Fuckbuggery?! relating to his shitty stalking. He relates, in his blog, that seven months pass. February into September, give or take. This next part is hilarious and scary, and I resist the temptation to merge the words into scarilarious.
   Of course I fail, and lay the new non-word before you. Trailing its afterbirth, it dies. Let it pass into uncommon usage. (Herr Google informs me that I did not coin the word. Thank fuck for that.)

*

The next sequence is hilarious, but only as an attempt to put a new book before the media.
   It's scary as fuck.
   To the extent that we have laws against the conduct described, and special buildings to put people in when they daren't interact with the public for reasons of safety and security.
   Prison works, in the sense that it keeps these fuckers off the streets and out of our faces. Harsh view?
   Fucking right it is.
   In local news, the nearest drug-dealer goes through a broken fucking cat-flap in our prison system. I'd like to see the guy rehabilitated.
   That will happen, around the Twelfth of Fucking Never. In the meantime, when he's off the streets behind bars, we sleep better without the noise.
   No one put a gun to his head and forced him to peddle narcotic filth in the first place. Takes his lumps every time he's liftit. Never learns. Blames everyone else. In a shouty way. Pardon me if I find it hard to care. Or don't pardon me. See if I care.

*

I've read enough James Ellroy to know that a faked kidnapping as a publicity stunt is strictly from hunger. When I read this ploy in the stalker's blog, I laughed.
   That was hilarious. Just so absurd. That couldn't be serious. What? Wait. Remember the stalker's title for that ludicrous post. The Benevolent Stalker.
   It made me laugh because I'd waded through every James Ellroy story out there. And a few that were way out there, hepcats. The Demon Dawg himself tried that plotline, and threw it away as he announced it to the world. For real? No. For fiction.
   And yet...
   Here's the stalker, trying it on.
   "Seven months later, when it was complete, I decided to try to make my book known by getting into the national news."
   Well so far, so normal. It's 2014. What do you do, to get your book before the national news? You say you are having a crack at this self-publishing lark. And that you won Countdown, a few years ago. I can write this...
   "Former Countdown champ has way with words and tries his hand at fantasy fiction."
   There. I made it easier for everyone concerned. These headlines almost write themselves. But, occasionally, these headlines need a nudge into a higher news-bracket...a stratospheric one.
   "I found out that she worked in Glasgow, so I travelled there with a plan."
   As we say in Scotlandia, haud rah fuckin' bus. Could this turn stranger and creepier? No. The end. (I lied.) She worked in Glasgow. He found out. By reading the runes, divining chicken entrails, or...
   The time-honoured fashion, reflecting the Ancient Ways. He stalky-stalked her.
   "I was going to tell her that if she came with me, and we faked a kidnapping, we would both become famous."
   For what? Wasting police time? Causing unnecessary worry to friends and family? Killing your book by smothering it under a tide of zero-rated reviews about your fake kidnap stunt?
   Amazon doesn't allow a zero level of stars on the rating, but reviewers are free to state otherwise in the text.
   "We would go into the hills and camp out for a few days while the nation searched. I had brought the necessary supplies."
   Solid red ball gag, handcuffs, tent rope and stakes put to a use for which they were not initially designed, Christian Grey's Tie™, sleep-mask that's a blindfold for cowards, a roll of tape, and, fuck this...
   Just buy yourself a copy of Sin City by Frank Fucking Miller. Yes. Fucking is his middle name. Stop at the page with Marv checking out equipment. (From rubber tubing through to his mitts.) Job fucking done.

*

Thank you, Dr Google, for making the compilation of this post last a few days instead of weeks.

*

"I would like to reiterate that I was not plotting to kidnap her. I was planning on asking her if she would be interested in pretending to be kidnapped, so that we would make the news and people would learn about our story."
   His story, not hers. This was a plug for his novel, after all. Nothing to do with her telling of anything. For those of you thinking about getting into the writing lark, putting real people into stories is fair game.
   You may land in trouble for your depiction of those people. Try to avoid appearing in court. That's a Top Tip™. Thank me later.
   It's not a proper kidnap if the would-be kidnapper says it's not. Pardon me, while I make shit up...
   Would you like to fake a kidnapping? We'll camp out in the wilds of Scotlandia. I have all the supplies we'll need. Trust me. I'm no lawyer, but I suspect I'll be in talks with one soon. And not in a good way.
   What's really galling about this part is that he never let her read the fiction beforehand. Leaving aside the fake kidnappery and the creepy stalkery, there's the matter of spamming behind his intent.
   (Further investigation showed that he attempted a conversation along those lines via Twitter, trying to interest her in the book. Naturally, she was having none of it. He could've casually mentioned he was writing a book, to interest her in a regular authorly way, but he wasn't one for regular authorly ways. It was too late, by then, and the damage was coming to a boil.)
   Hi, I wrote a book. You are in it. Let's hike into the hills to fake a kidnapping and that will promote...I understand you haven't read it. Well, you can read it while we are camping.
   Wait here while you freshen up? Okay. Have you locked yourself in the bathroom to call the police? Why, I haven't done anything wrong. It's all a bit of harmless fun. This is modern promotion, I'll have ye know.
   No, it isn't super-cruel of me to invent the scene. It's merely cruel, and you'll have no apology off me for writing fucking fiction.

*

"Yesterday, I saw her on the street and approached her, and called her name, but she freaked out."
   In a blog post dated 23rd of September, the stalker talks about stalking. He admits he's a stalker. In a short while, the space of not many words, we reach a conclusion. Keep the date of the blog post in mind.
   Also, I'd fucking freak out if that happened on the street. In Scotland. After thinking I'd ditched the stalker in another fucking country. Hell, I'd be reaching for the chainsaw.

*

I'm being careful in these quotations as I don't wish to quote other people in the stalker's words. If he says she said something, I can't verify it. And I know, for that reason, that I run the risk of quoting out of context.
   To which I say this: read the fucking quote about faking a kidnapping and tell me that's out of fucking context. Fuck.
   Also, I blurted out the title of that stalky blog post, and you can Google it to read the full thing. If you must. You'll wade through all the context anyone needs. The Benevolent Stalker. There.
   If the post is removed, make use of The Wayback Machine. Or haunt the blogosphere for a screen-grab. Too many people archived the piece for it to disappear.

*

"She turned and snapped me on her phone before hurrying away."
   Yes. Get evidence of stalking. Obviously, the stalker provided that evidence himself by blogging later. I know, I know. If we believe a damned word he says.
   Copy e-mail, grab images off your computer screen, photograph your phone's call-log, and make notes of suspected sightings. Call the cops. Hand them the ammo.
   My rant isn't about this guy. It's about all the people yet to turn stalker and go after you. This rant is about your safety. Document the evidence. Go to the cops.
   "I didn’t even get to tell her about my plan."
   Written with a strange sense of regret. That plan in full: publicise a book by arranging a fake kidnapping, using a stalking victim as the fake victim. Now play a GO TO JAIL card.
   "I didn’t want to make a scene because people were staring. I also realised that I didn’t have the heart to ask her if she would like to be kidnapped."
   Question. Would the stalker want to make a scene if no one were staring? Suppose the stalker had the heart to ask? Don't tie yourself in knots attempting an answer.
   As for the rest of that quote...
   I firmly believe that you don't run up from a place of danger to announce that it's okay, and everything is safe. You are the source of the spookiness, so don't run up and be even spookier by trying to explain yourself to a scared person.
   Clearly, you are not helping.
   Beyond that, don't run up from a place of danger to be more dangerous by asking questions along the lines of...would you like to be kidnapped? I don't truly feel the need to offer this advice on conduct, but I do genuinely feel the need to be sarcastic.
   "I left Glasgow, and I think our relationship is finished now."
   Stalker never had a real relationship with his victim. Even so, he doesn't know for sure that the relationship is over. No. He thinks.
   Fuck.
   I don't have the space in this blog to unleash the Krakatoan levels of lava generating the steam I feel I need to vent, in response to this creepy fucking cunt's creepy fucking blog post.
   Bear in mind, this isn't even the start of the fucking tale.


*

"I gave it my best shot. I really thought that we would both become famous. We would have disappeared for a few days, people would have read my book, and she could have played the lead role when XXXX is made into a movie. But alas; I’ll have to find another way."
   Yes, I refuse to mention his name or the name of his book. My blog, my fucking rules. You have enough information to work out who he is. Google Countdown winners. Series 55.
   What would have happened if they'd disappeared for a few days? Would his victim have resurfaced, do you think? Ah, the movie of the book. And he'd have the right to cast his wife in the lead role, for his wife she'd be...by then.
   Prophetic creepy comment? He'd need to find another way to become famous. Yes. Quite.



*

"There is no such thing as benevolent stalking. This is now crystal clear to me. I was totally wrong. No means no."

   The dick ends his blog post on that note. After stalking a woman to Glasgow, he realises he's a stalker. And he's given it all up. So he's no longer a stalker. The end. There's no benevolent stalking. And there'll be no more of it, anyway. The end. And did I mention that this was the end of the tale? The end. Roll credits. Fin.
   Aye, a fucking shark's fin.


*

Interlude.
   I read the dick's blog post again, paying particular attention to the phrasing at the start. He apologised for his blog, and said he was receiving treatment. Then he presented the original blog post.
   My heart sank. Had this level of blogfuckery torn holes in the story's timeline? Did he not originally blog about stalking on the 23rd? Fuck. Better find out...
   I went to the digital cemetery, and did the requisite digging.
   The Wayback Machine digital archive carries the original post on the 23rd of September 2014. Then the apology appears, minus the post. Finally, both apology and post appear together.
   He did blog about stalking on the 23rd of September, after his misadventure in Scotland.
   Then he tinkered with the entry and said sorry, with the main post's removal. Finally, he put the post back in under the apology. All three versions bore the dateline of the 23rd.
   Separately, I checked a screen-grab of the original post from an online news item, rather than just relying on The Wayback Machine. (Bless you, Internet Archive.)
   His blog post blew up on social media in mid-October 2014, with a flurry of references from the 13th to the 15th of that month. (By then, the physical damage was done.) News articles online also referenced his Twitter feed. I screen-grabbed that.


   This Twitter image is used here under the doctrines of Fair Dealing and Fair Use.
   On the 14th of September, he publishes his book. On the 18th, he blogs an item and Tweets the link. Eerily, on the 19th, he declares he was here. (On our planet?) He asks someone (his victim?) about that person's location.
   And on the 22nd, the eerie content of the Tweet is plain. He's explaining, in a Tweet she won't read, that he was trying to make them both famous.
   He'd already won two TV quizzes by then. Not enough fame? He didn't want to make a scene. By offering to kidnap her to promote his book.
   On the 23rd, he blogs about benevolent stalking. And he Tweets on the 24th about a new plan for book-promotion. Offer the book free on Amazon as part of a sale. A dramatic step down from kidnapping.
   Incidentally, are those sections of his book plastered all over his blog? If so, he's in contravention of Amazon's digital exclusivity terms and conditions for a book enrolled in KDP Select.
   I know. The least of his fucking faults. I'm struggling to find a way out of this morass. He Tweeted the month before, about considering a move to Scotland.
   For the scenery, I suppose. (Sarcasm is mine. You can borrow it.)

*

And so, to 2ndVICTIM. Here's where our story begins.
   I quote Paigey Lou in her own words, writing about the stalker's stalky book. (She was listed as Paigey Lou in her review of his fiction.) We've had one prescient quote from the stalker. Looking for fame, he needed another outlet. Here's a prescient quote from Paigey Lou, reviewing the story...
   "Unfortunately, XXXX has gained a bit of infamy on Wattpad where he's known for threatening users who don't praise him (pray for me) and telling successfully published authors that they know nothing about the industry and are completely wrong in saying that writing rules must be followed in order to be successful."
   It's a joke of a comment. Pray for me. That became no joke when dick Dick decided to give Paige a piece of his mind by slamming a bottle into a piece of hers.
   Paige, again...
   "The writer of XXXX is arrogant. SO arrogant, in fact, that my review hit him where it hurts a little too hard. In return, he found out where I worked through Facebook, came from LONDON to where I live in the east of Scotland, and attacked me by hitting me over the head with a wine bottle from behind. Not a word or a sound. And then he left. I had to be taken to hospital to receive medical treatment for it, which included several stitches in my head."

*

Just a point about wired-to-the-moon trolling. Several bottom-feeders defended stalker Dick the stalker dick, by supposing there was no evidence that this woman was assaulted. Nothing in the media! I addressed this point in my earlier blog post.
   Once the legal process begins, the media must be very careful about what is placed in public spaces - this avoids possible contempt of court, and the accusation that a trial is undermined by prejudicial comments...
   Especially if a defendant is up on charges in two cases that make it to trial. Newspapers and TV shows won't name the defendant in one case, for fear of prejudicing the outcome of the same defendant's case in another matter before the court.
   Silence.
   Result on the internet? Wired-to-the-moon trolling. Nothing in the media!
   But this appeared in the media at the time of the assault...
   Detective Inspector Steven Hamilton:
   “The young lady sustained a head injury from which she required medical treatment. The ordeal has left her badly shaken and her friends and colleagues express understandable concern. Extensive enquiries have been undertaken and a man is now being sought for this incident.
   “I must stress that we are not linking her place of work as relevant to the attack motive and we do not believe anyone else is at risk at this time.
   “That said, it is vital we trace this man as soon as possible and I am seeking the assistance of anyone who may have seen the man.
   “He is described as 5’10” tall, slim build, dark hair, wearing black rimmed glasses and with facial stubble.
   “He was wearing a light coloured jumper, light coloured shorts with tight leggings underneath and black training shoes, and was carrying a rucksack and a blue and green tubular bag.”
   The assault occurred on Friday the 3rd of October 2014, at 9.45 am. Note the date. The stalker underwent a Damascene Conversion, on the 23rd of September, when the stalker wrote a stalky blog post about stalking and how stalking wasn't stalking, except that it was. He was finished with all that, anyway. Done. No more.
   That was all in the past, now. Written on the 23rd of September. Gone. Jump to the future. A little over a week later and the stalker is in Scotland, stalking Paigey Lou. She's a reviewer of books. He takes a bottle from her workplace and brains her with it in the cereal aisle of the supermarket.
   A stranger.
   You can see it as a murder-spree that never was. He travels to Scotland to kill two birds with one stone, or whatever handy blunt item he can lay hands to. I'm astonished that both women are still alive.
   Dick hits Paige from behind as she crouches at a supermarket shelf on a Friday morning in October. Her crime? No crime. His? I'd like to say it's attempted murder, but it falls under assault. With stalking taken into consideration.
   What happened here?
   Nagasaki was never the intended target. Kokura was the target on the day, but the city clouded over. So the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki instead.
   That's what happened here. The stalker went on his bombing-run over Scotland and couldn't get at the first target he'd spooked. So in October, he went after the secondary target.


*

Nothing in the media. Pish to that. Also, it's not the media you should be looking to. Scour the official court records. Sheriff Court Rolls announce business for the next few days in advance. Look those up.
   Here's an example. I've left the Sheriff Court and Procurator Fiscal reference numbers intact. This is the stalker's case. I'm not giving his books publicity, so we'll just leave his name off.





   Sometimes the case is shifted to another court, as in this update. You must be nimble, sifting these records online...they are replaced by updates, and I couldn't access archived records all that easily on the web.
   It helps to know the jurisdiction covering the case. Otherwise, you'll end up trawling screeds of Sheriff Courts.

*

The stalker flees to England. I'll get to that bit. He's uncovered, arrested, and shipped to Scotland. Charged, he's remanded in custody but soon bailed. And then. Out on bail, with months to wait before the trial, he blogs and blogs and blogs.

   Perhaps he's mentally ill. Or just really fucking frustrated. Hell, he could be both. If it's a transparent ploy, it's, er, too transparent to work as a transparent ploy. Or. Er. I'm losing the lack of plot here.

*

What does he write about? Don't fucking start.
   "Some good people in Scotland have helped to set me back on the right path."
   That'd be the polis, then.
   We are treated to a dissection of 1stVICTIM's Twitter stream, and messages he thought she'd aimed at him. There's no straightforward reference to 2ndVICTIM Scottish Lou until he pens a poetic apology.
   Though I wouldn't call that a straightforward reference, now I think on it.
   The main thing I notice is a story about a writer who goes to jail. I wade through close to 15,000 words of this confessional bloggery. What do we learn?
   Why, everything salient about the case, delivered to us under a thin veil of fiction. This is a veil made of the Emperor's cast-off new clothes. It's non-fiction, with a fresh coat of paint.
   He details his incarceration in England. I Google the shit out of places the stalker refers to, just to see if maps tally with his descriptions.
   This in no way makes me a stalker, I'm here to fucking tell you. So flush that fucking shit out of your system.
   I check his statements against checkable things. Even his veiled statements. Dick becomes Rupert, winner of Countdown series 555. He calls goodreads badreads. Hell, anyone with an ounce of sarcasm's called it that.
   Wattpad morphs into Whatpad, and so it goes. Rupert's narrative begins in prison. It's all downhill from there.

*

Reviews of the author's book are tempered by his temper. There's a scattering of deleted comments in the reviews on Amazon. We sense the author wrote the deleted messages...
   And we gain a ghost impression of what those snippets were about, thanks to further comments by people who responded to the author's since-deleted messages.
   This is the train that wrecked. Ill-advised use of anti-social media to bludgeon those who do not share your opinion, taken to its illogical conclusion by a very angry man who held so narrow a focus that he vented many frustrations on one unsuspecting person.
   And his original victim dropped bricks when she heard what he'd done to Paigey Lou. I'm guessing, but I'm guessing well.

*

We come to this near-fiction version of a confession for the detective.
   "One of those trolls left a long rant based on the first two pages. The prologue is not the strongest part of my book but it does its job, setting out the scene and characters. If you read the first two pages of Harry Potter, you probably wouldn’t consider it to be a particularly good book."
   The stalker travels to Scotland, brains a reviewer, flees, is arrested, returns to Scotland, is imprisoned, receives bail...
   And further down the line, awaiting trial, he pens this thinly-concealed version of what happened. There, in a public forum, having shown all this faux remorse, he, the stalker, calls his victim a troll.
   Not only does the world lack a level of coffee required to cope with this fucking bullshit, but it is also somewhat low on useful stocks of irony.
   If I read the first two pages of that book, title not listed. Probably wouldn't consider. Vague meaningless waffle. There's no context, or subtext.
   Submarine-text? The book is as good as the Harry Potter book is, because both books have boring opening scenes in the first two pages.
   There's a handy term for that line of reasoning, and the stalker is full of it.
   Now that stuff is on his blog. Slight fiction. What if that's the word-for-word statement he really gave to a detective while in custody for assaulting Paige? Calling her a troll instead of a reviewer.

*

(What was real? Words failed me at that point.)

   I tried to write a meaningful blog post about this - on the basis that I blogged before, and offered a follow-up when the verdict was in.
   Instead, I found myself dredging Grimpen Mire in a vague hunt for treasure. Or a big glowing dog. A crock of shit painted gold. Meaning in jumble. Tiny flies in marmalade. Fuck knows. I don't think this makes a difference any more.
   So why even type?
   Can I change the attitude of stalkers? No. But there are people out there reading this who lack the courage to deal with stalkers the moment there's the vaguest hint of stalking. To them I say, CHANGE. Act instantly.
   Find every scrap of data left by the stalker, and go to the cops. Copy. Photograph. Screen-grab. The stalker's phone stalks the stalker, telling the cops of the stalker's movements. If you are being stalked, end it today. Call the cops. Do it now.
   If you are being stalked through the streets of the town, CCTV footage is your friend. That's solid evidence of physical stalking. For electronic stalking, don't delete abusive, threatening, or creepy e-mail you receive. Keep it.
   It's evidence.
   If your friends/relations/colleagues are dismissive of the view that you are being stalked, go to the cops. That very minute. Walk away from dismissive people and talk to the cops. Immediately.
   Are you happy with the amount of information about yourself on the internet? Don't be. What's out there on your social media?
   Your name, age, date of birth, star sign, town, occupation at a named company, picture of your house, car, people you know - and all their stuff on the internet linking back to you, with even more info...
   To a stalker, too much information isn't anywhere near enough. But it will do for starters. Reduce your risk at the source. The internet is not that source: you are.
   I compiled this blog post by cross-referencing information freely available. Yes, even supposedly deleted data. On the internet, there's no such thing as deleted. There are ghosts, hints, echoes, whispers, shadows, and Olympian photocopies out there.
   Be safe. Stay safe. Cast a paranoid eye over proceedings.   


*

"She wrote that she was appalled anyone would consider my book worthy of money. I felt as though I had suffered a mortal wound."

   It's all about the stalker, obviously. Advice to writers. Don't bother your arse over reviews. You mustn't care what people think of your work. Opinions on your books don't alter the taste of your dinner.
   Also, note Cosmic Levels of irony imported from the far reaches of the galaxy - this planet ran out of irony, thanks to the stalker.
   Cosmic Irony - man tells himself he's suffering a mortal wound after reviewer voices an opinion. Stalker goes on to inflict assault on the reviewer, with potential of causing a mortal wound.
   Once again, we're fresh out of irony, folks, and there's your cause.


*

"For days, all I could think about was that review. I tried to get it out of my mind, I tried to make sense of it, but my rage was growing rather than diminishing. I had to confront her."
   No, he really fucking didn't have to confront her or anyone else. Discovering her workplace address was not discovery, but an act of malice. Going by my rule, he wasn't a colleague. All authors are colleagues, unless they cross the line into malice.
   He crossed, and there was no way back. Game over.

*

"I went to Scotland. I wanted to make her feel the way I felt. I struck her with a bottle of wine and ran away."
   Readers, I just don't have decent fucking words for this. I can only run to cliché. We are all Paigey Lou. All writers are readers. When a stalker physically strikes out at one of us, then that stalker lashes out at all.
   The doors of a writing career are ever closed to those violent impulsive people. Oh, the malicious scribblers may resurface under other names and write more stories.
   Do we care about that? Can't hear the answer for mocking laughter. Cut my heart. Stalkers won't see a drop of blood from me. Heartless? No. Bloodless? Far from it. I don't have it in me, to allow my heart to bleed for the likes of them. We are all Paigey Lou.

*


More? I wrote that last paragraph and thought I was done. Oh no. This guy's blog is the unwanted gift that keeps on misgiving.
   Behold: August 21st, 2015. Not a date which will live in infamy. One which survives smeared in curdled banality, perhaps. Tainted by a faint dusting of industrial levels of Zero Irony.
   The stalker releases another blog post, plugging the eruption of a book onto the Amazon.
   That's neither here nor there.
   The topic of this short effort, estimated page-count 43, appears to be schizophrenia. Free on release. I didn't purchase the work.
   It's the blog post's punchline I find repellent. And I quote:

TITLE CENSORED is available on Amazon. The LINK CENSORED is free to download for the first five days. The LINK CENSORED will be available from tomorrow. I promise not to attack anyone who doesn't like it.

*

(Bloody red emphasis mine.)
   Not for the first time in my life, I harbour the overwhelming inclination to tell some fucking fucker to fuck the fuck off back to fucking Fuckofflandia, where other fucking fucked-off fuckers fucking told that fucking fuck of a fucking fucker to fucking fuck the fuck off from in the first fucking place.
   Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.


*

It's difficult to read blog posts by a self-confessed stalker. Mentally ill? Does a diagnosis help that person, or is seeking a diagnosis merely help in another sense - part of a ploy to lessen or swerve a prison sentence?
   The stalker was guilty and went to jail for his crime. I wrote this piece with that in mind.
   Stalking is a crime in Scotland, and not a mental illness. Mental illness may be behind stalking. I didn't want to blog here, beating up a guy with serious mental problems.
   There are people who are ill and who don't have the capacity to generate thousands of words seeking to justify or explain the whole sorry mess.
   I mean people who aren't organised enough to trek from one country to another, thinking camping on a roundabout will avoid leaving an obvious trail through hotels once the grim deed is done.
   Those people, lacking capacity, should not be stigmatised.
   People with severe mental issues need help, often protection from themselves, and, occasionally, a layer of protection that extends to those around them.
   Chancers, system-players, and narcissistic stalkers need not apply.
   With all that in mind, here are some links. No sympathy for the devil. Assistance for others.



Scottish-themed links to anti-stalking resources:





This post skimmed the surface, and yet it is so bloody vast. I'll quit while there's still caffeine. Been a long week. Read books. Write books. Review books. Try not to take it all too seriously.
   Knowing you are stalked, end it that day - call the cops. Never raise a fist in self-defence when you can kick an ankle and topple your foe instead.
   If you comment on this blog post, refrain from mentioning the stalker, or his book, by full name. I'll delete your comment if you do.
   That's not censorship, it's censorship avoiding ripping the fucking piss. I waded through a blog post without recourse to plugging a title, so you can manage a comment in the same vein.


*

Must add a sentence or two about sentencing. The stalker's charges were processed in the Sheriff Court. Sheriff proceedings are summary or solemn, unless passed to the High Court for even greater sentencing.
   Paige was told her attacker would face up to five years in jail if convicted - this is the highest sentence imposed by a Sheriff Court on a solemn proceeding. (A summary charge can only lead to a year in jail.)
   There was a chance that the Sheriff might pass the case to the High Court. In that event, Paige's attacker would've been well and truly fucked.
   Over in High Court, considered a constant danger to women, the stalker would leave jail around the Twelfth of Fucking Never.
   Is a five-year sentence enough? Perspective. Murderers serve a little over a decade of a life sentence - though may be recalled to jail at any time to protect the public order.
   Had the stalker kidnapped and killed his first victim, he'd have been locked away until no longer a danger to the public.
   In the case of an assault in a supermarket leading to death, it's likely that he'd have faced a charge of culpable homicide. That's equivalent to manslaughter in other systems.
   Don't bash anyone over the head. Write stories. Accept that not everyone will like your writing. Write more stories. Don't stalk and attack people.


*

And now, the inevitable last-gasp update. It's the 18th of December as I type, and I had the news late on the 17th that sentencing was handed down.
   The stalker was given 30 months in jail. Additionally, he faces an indefinite order of non-harassment. He is barred from contacting either of his victims - in any way - ever again. If he so much as Tweets in the wrong direction, the court really will hand him his head to play with.
   His legal representation asked that he not be jailed as he's suffering from paranoid schizophrenia or a personality disorder. (Well, which is it?) The Sheriff was having none of it, and stated that a custodial sentence was the only option here.
   On top of that, the stalker will be monitored for a year after release.
   Stalker Dick the stalker dick will have the eyes of the internet on him, far longer than that.

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