by David Swindle
On 2nd August 2003, whilst Rana Faruqui was attending her beloved horse she was brutally stabbed and murdered by former partner Stephen Griffiths following an intense stalking campaign during which he followed Rana, spied on her, photographed her, bombarded her with e-mails and text messages and even used her family to pass on messages.
Rana who had ended her short relationship with Griffiths after six months due to his abusive and controlling behaviour was well aware of how obsessive and dangerous he was and became terrified as his stalking and harassment started to escalate.
Two weeks before Rana was killed her car brake pipes were cut. She was in fear of her life and reported all the incidents and her concerns to the police including keeping a meticulous log of events.
Griffiths’ obsessive conduct was escalating and poor frightened Rana recognised the dangers however the police did not.
There was no joined up holistic approach regarding the various reports she had made and the police did not identify the risks meaning the potential gravity of Griffiths’ actions were not recognised and he went on to kill poor Rana who had been living constantly in fear of her obsessive stalker.
The last words of terrified Rana pleading with her obsessive stalker to leave her alone were heard on the chilling “999” call played in court – a terrible tragedy and young life ended violently by an obsessive individual.
Sadly, it took such a tragic event as Rana’s murder as far back as 2003, other murders related to stalking, high profile victim focussed campaigns and the involvement of Theresa May MP before the law and processes regarding stalking and harassment changed in 2012.
Revised legislation, multi-agency guidelines and risk assessment processes now exist which make it easier for victims of stalking to report their concerns and early interventions to be put in place to mitigate risks of serious harm to victims.
Amazing work has been done since Rana’s terrible murder however based on my experience as a former Head of Public Protection and Senior Investigating Officer who investigated and reviewed such tragic cases I consider that there is still scope for improvement.
There needs to be continuous fine-tuning and review of processes to ensure people like Rana who, concerned for their personal safety make reports of what (in the early stages and in isolation) may appear to be relatively “minor” incidents or “civil” matters receive the best possible support.
A report of someone making several telephone calls, texts or staring at another individual may not in isolation seem serious however such events when examined in entirety may be seen to form part of a more sinister circumstantial chain of evidence to substantiate stalking.
Better systems are in place now to identify and link such reports, investigate and risk assess situations and provide a better public awareness of stalking/ harassment legislation with multi-agency processes available to support victims and encourage victims or third parties to report their concerns.
Lawyers involved in “civil” processes like injunctions have an important role to play in the sharing of information where their clients are victims of stalking.
There is a lot of information in the public domain however as a main reference point I would encourage people to look at the very informative website http://www.stalkinghelpline.org/ which includes “The Stalking Helpline” number 0808 802 0300 and e mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
These facilities were not available in 2003 however what Rana did was correct, she recognised the threats made reports to the police and maintained a log of events however Griffiths continued in his determined campaign to terrorise and ultimately kill Rana.
Lessons have been learned from the tragic cases such as Rana’s murder, we owe it to these victims and their surviving families to ensure that everything continues to be done to prevent, identify and tackle stalking and harassment crimes and support victims.
The information and views set out in this article are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of Crime + Investigation, AETN UK and/or its’ shareholders. Neither AETN UK nor any person acting on its’ behalf can be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
by David Swindle