A teenager left “petrified” by her driving instructor who turned into a stalker - paying dark web hackers to access her social media accounts - said she is glad her tormentor has not been jailed as he “needs help”.
Graham Mansie, 52, was given a suspended sentence earlier this month for stalking his former pupil.
Speaking out for the first time, Maisie Relph, 19, said she was glad he had been helped not punished.
A court heard how he became obsessed with the then 17-year-old while he taught her to drive.
She said initially she had no worries with his behaviour, but after her 18th birthday, he changed.
Stalker created ‘For Maisie’ TikTok account
Mansie asked the teenager out for drinks and created a TikTok account called ‘For Maisie’ which featured a red heart emoji and the bio “my favourite”.
He taught around 15 of her friends to drive too and gave another student a gift bag to pass on to her, it was said, containing £65 in restaurant vouchers.
The present hamper had a keyring featuring a bone with her dog’s name on and even a a Uni of York sign - the city she was due to move to.
When the victim blocked Mansie on all social media and stopped learning how to drive with him, his car was spotted on her road.
Even when she moved to University in York he followed her electronically - creating a fake Instagram account pretending to be an 18-year-old student called Ben Williams.
He even joined a WhatsApp group for her halls of residence.
And he turned up in the city although did not enter her accommodation, it was said - and was arrested soon after.
When interviewed, he also confessed to police he had used the dark web and paid people hundreds of pounds to try to hack into her social media accounts.
Maisie was forced to face him in court before he changed his plea to guilty.
Graham Mansie given suspended sentence
He was given an eight-week jail term suspended for a year at Bromley Magistrates’ Court.
He was told to complete 30 rehabilitation days and visit the Stalking Threat Assessment Centre to get help.
And he was banned from contacting the victim for the rest of his life and told to pay the court £300 in costs and a £128 victim surcharge.
The court was told he has already breached his bail conditions twice by contacting her on Instagram and WhatsApp.
‘I think he needs help, not to be locked away’
Maisie, a psychology in education student from Bromley, said: “It was a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
“I want to raise awareness because I’d have stopped my lessons much sooner if I’d read a story like this.
“In my lessons he used to say things like ‘oh I’ll add that to the file’, and I always thought it was a joke but now I wonder if he did have a file on me.
“The police still haven’t told me everything they found on his computer.
“It’s really shocking and I’m still terrified, but I think he needs help, not to be locked away.
“I’m really pleased he’s getting help with the therapy sessions, and the life-long restraining order gives me peace of mind.
“If he’d gone to jail I’d only be worrying about when he gets out, and they said he’ll go to prison for five years if he breaks the order so I feel pretty confident he’ll stick to it.
“It’s a win-win, he’ll get help and I feel relieved, so do all my friends and flatmates and their families, who are all victims of this too.”
He called her his favourite and invited her out for drinks
Maisie signed up for 10 lessons with Mansie, from Beckenham, in July 2020 and ended up having 32 in total.
Mansie, 33 years older than the sixth-former, taught around 15 of her friends who had all passed their tests and recommended him.
The then Year 13 schoolgirl took a break from the weekly driving lessons in November during the Covid 19 lockdown and started again in April 2021, just after her 18th birthday.
But Mansie’s behaviour towards her had changed, she said.
He started calling her his favourite, invited her out for drinks, and talked for much of the two-hour lessons about wanting to be in a relationship with someone, she recalled.
Unnerved, but keen to take her test that was booked for the end of May, the schoolgirl carried on with her now twice-weekly lessons, but turned down the offer of drinks.
‘When we restarted lessons I had a gut feeling that something was wrong’
When she didn’t pass her test Mansie cried and said he couldn’t teach her anymore, she said.
Confused, Maisie said it wasn’t his fault and he booked her a second test for the end of September, so she arranged a set of lessons starting again in August.
Maisie said: “At first he was totally normal - none of my friends had any issues with him: I thought he was very reliable.
“When we restarted lessons I had a gut feeling that something was wrong.
“He started saying ‘oh you’re my favourite you’re my favourite.’
“I thought ‘aw this really doesn’t seem right’, but it was so hard to get a test and an instructor I thought I’d see it out, I just really didn’t think it would get worse.
“Then the Tik Tok seemed kind of crazy - the content was just driving advice, but it made me feel really uncomfortable.
“And you don’t talk about how much you want to be in a relationship to your 18-year-old pupil - I’d never go there.
“Him crying when I failed my test made me feel extremely awkward, and when he set up the Insta things really didn’t feel right.”
‘He used the dark web to ask people to hack into her private messages’
The teen then got a request from a random account on Instagram in July, and Mansie messaged to say he created it to show how many days until he next saw her.
When she accepted it she saw it was on 28 days he then deleted it, she said.
One of her friends said he kept telling them he had a student he wanted a relationship with, and another said he gave weekly updates on the development of a potential relationship, she claims.
She then became terrified when she got a message to say he had joined her student block WhatsApp group at the University of York on October 8.
Police believe he located her via her Facebook and pretended to be a student to gain access.
Denise Clewes, prosecuting, told the court during Mansie’s sentencing: “In September 2021 she moved to York. He managed to join a WhatsApp Group for her halls of residence with a profile for an 18-year-old boy.
“He befriended all her hall mates.
“He used the dark web to ask people to hack into her private messages to see what he was doing. He lost hundreds of pounds trying to do this.
“On October 31 2021 he travelled to York by train. He walked outside her halls of residence but did not go inside.
“Her dad called police and the defendant was arrested on November 3.”
‘I was absolutely petrified’
“I was absolutely petrified,” Maisie said. “He knew exactly where I was.
“It was really scary! I slept in my flatmates’ rooms I was so scared.
“They walked with me everywhere so I wasn’t ever alone. I’m so lucky they were so supportive and caring.
“I was really really worried.”
Maisie changed her clothing and cut her hair into a bob after the police advised she change how she looked when Mansie was on bail.
He has been in contact with her via Whatsapp to say “you’ve just killed me” before he went missing for two days.
Maisie said: “I felt so threatened and I was balling when he said I’d killed him. I didn’t want to be responsible for him killing himself. I was so upset.
“I was terrified when he went missing, I thought he was looking for me and I didn’t feel safe, bail meant nothing to him, that made me wonder what else he might do.”
She added: “He’s not a bad person, but [...] he’s absolutely obsessed, and he needs help not punishment.
“I’m still worried about what he could do next - people can have stalkers for years.
“Emily Maitlis has had one for 25 years who has been in and out of prison.
“It’s a fixation and an obsession, and going in and out of prison doesn’t help, and we’d be better off investing in some kind of treatment.
“What he’s doing is definitely wrong but he was a nice normal man that so many people had respect for and he’s lost all of that.
“I wonder if all the lockdowns weren’t good for him and he became very lonely.”