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Lily Allen's Stalker Has Been Sectioned Indefinitely

Earlier this year, Lily Allen bravely revealed that she had been harassed by a stalker for seven years. In a terrifying incident that took place last October, the man even managed to break into the bedroom of Allen's flat in Queen's Park, west London, while she and her two young children were present.

The man, 31-year-old Alex Gray of Perthshire, was convicted of burglary and harassment in April. Now a judge at north London's Harrow Crown Court has given him indeterminate hospital and restraining orders, meaning he has been sectioned indefinitely.

According to the Press Association, Judge Martyn Barklem told the court that Gray's harassment was "borne out of the long-standing, delusional, and utterly groundless" belief that Allen had plagiarised lyrics he had written. A consultant psychiatrist told the court that Gray is likely to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

Allen did not appear in court for the sentencing, but she provided a statement that was read out for the judge's benefit. "I was too terrified to stay in my Queen's Park flat," she said in the statement. "I couldn't stay there knowing how easy it was for him to break in and how vulnerable my children were."

When she shared her incredibly distressing story with The Observer in April, Allen said she was made to feel like a "nuisance rather than a victim" when she reported her stalker to the Metropolitan Police. It can only be hoped that her widely-reported comments will provoke a re-think into how officers approach reports of stalking, which could be experienced by as many as one in five women during their lifetime, according to a recent Crime Survey from England and Wales (CSEW).

It can only be hoped, too, that the successful resolution of Allen's high-profile case will encourage more victims to come forward. As we reported in April, research by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust suggests that very few victims of stalking actually report it, or that many cases have gone unrecorded by the police.