A charity worker has told of how she was left feeling “suspicious” of everyone after being stalked by a woman she had never met.
Natasha Dawn carried out her relentless campaign against Tracey Patterson, and also targeted ex-EastEnders actress Danniella Westbrook and Richard McRae, a councillor for Broxtowe Borough Council.
Dawn had admitted to stalking Tracey for nine months, and during the shocking course of events she made taunts about Tracey’s dead mother as well as making false accusations.
She told her in one message that she wouldn’t be “waking up tomorrow”.
Dawn was jailed for three years after admitting to three counts of stalking at Nottingham Crown Court. She was also slapped with a restraining order, banning her from contacting or referring to a number of people on social media indefinitely.
However, Tracey, 53, who said Dawn sent 8,000 messages, told NationalWorld that she doesn’t have “much faith” she won’t offend again.
‘It just escalated so fast’
Dawn’s stalking started online, and she would contact her on Twitter and Instagram. However, it escalated to a terrifying point where she was sending Tracey, from Birmingham, pictures of her own front door and describing to her what she had seen her do - including her charity outreach work.
The 43-year-old would create different accounts which she used to contact Tracey, and she would constantly video call her.
Speaking of how it started, Tracey, who runs a charity called Birmingham’s Homeless Support Team, along with her husband Barrington, said: “It’s bizarre because I was a patient of rogue breast cancer surgeon Ian Paterson, the trial was at Nottingham Crown Court and she just happens to be from Nottingham.
“The very first message she sent me was that I had sent an innocent man to prison. Then I blocked it, but the next day I got another message, same sort of thing, and I blocked that and it just escalated so fast.
“At one point she was sending me up to 50 to 60 times a day via our charity, via video call, via telephone. We couldn’t get rid of her, the messages were becoming more and more abusive.”
Tracey shared with NationalWorld some of the messages she received from Dawn. Many contain vile and racist language.
One message said: “I have been in your yard when you was away. Want pictures of inside your home.”
In 2018 Tracey reported the matter to West Midlands Police who started an investigation. She said: “It was slow going as they had to apply to social media platforms for the account details. I had given them 80 accounts every day that she contacted me on a new one I forwarded that to the police.
“It continued, and then it transpired she was from Nottingham and it was transferred to police there. Within 24 hours Nottingham Police had come to my house and had downloaded 8,000 messages and taken screenshots of the call log where she tried to contact me by phone 40-50 times a day.”
‘I was just unable to go out on my own’
Having never met Dawn, and not knowing what she looked like, Tracey was dealing with an invisible force that left her constantly wondering if people she encountered were her stalker.
And she highlighted how Dawn’s actions went beyond sending messages online - she contacted Barrington’s work, and members of the couple’s family and friends. Dawn even tracked down a wedding picture of the couple.
Describing how it affected her life, Tracey told NationalWorld: “We had extra CCTV cameras put up, she messaged me the next day and said, ‘you don’t think those cameras are going to stop me’. We went on holiday [and] she sent me a picture of the house-sitter asking if the house-sitter was ok.
“I didn’t know what she looked like. We run a homeless charity so when we were going out doing our outreach work I was scanning the crowd, but I didn’t even know who I was looking for. But I was just looking at everyone thinking ‘I hope it’s not you’. I just became suspicious of everybody.
“I was just unable to go out on my own - my family, my husband and my children were just scared for my safety because the messages were just getting more abusive. She would send me a picture of the homeless outreach and say ‘you didn’t see me tonight, imagine what I could do next time.’”
“She just got more vile as the days went on and there was nothing I could do to stop her.”
‘I have no faith that she won’t do it again’
Dawn was jailed for her crimes last week, and Tracey said she tried not to get her hopes up for a prison sentence in case she was disappointed.
She said: “All the way through, while waiting for her to go to court, I kept it in my mind that she might not go to prison so I wouldn’t be disappointed, so I kept saying she may not go to prison, but whatever happens we’ll get a lifetime court order preventing her from contacting us.”
And she hit out at a claim made that Dawn didn’t remember carrying out the offences: “She doesn’t recall contacting me 8,000 times even though they found a book in her house with all the account names and passwords and sim cards used to set up the accounts? Apparently she doesn’t recall any of it, which I find bizarre.”
“She lost an opportunity to apologise and to give us closure as to why she did it, why [she] chose to destroy our charity, why she chose to destroy our life.”
Some stalking offences can carry a sentence of up to 10 years, with others having a maximum of 14 years.
Tracey said she thinks Dawn “got off lightly” and added: “Although she pleaded guilty she hasn’t said ‘yes I did it and this is why’. I don’t have much faith in her never doing it again because she is so prolific.
“I have very little hope she will change because she showed no emotion when sentenced to three years, she was just huffing like everything was a big inconvenience.”
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