Before police found him, an obsessive stalker had been lurking in his ex-girlfriend’s loft for ten days while sending her a barrage of texts.
After they met on the dating site Plenty of Fish, Ben Gould, 29, of Cambourne, Cornwall, terrorised his ex-girlfriend Hayley Smith, 37, for a year.
Despite the fact that things seemed promising at first, Ms. Smith ended the brooding romance when she learned that dog-lover Gould was still sharing a home with another person when they first met.
Gould then started his obsessive campaign of monitoring Ms. Smith, which included following her while she stayed at friends’ and family’ houses, contacting her frequently by phone and text, and even breaking into her trailer.
She called the police because she felt helpless, and they responded that they were unable to find the elusive Gould and had issued an arrest order for him.
Despite the fact that he had texted Ms. Smith to let her know he was “watching her,” police were still unable to locate him.
Only 10 days after being eventually removed from his terrifying hiding place—the loft of her house—was he taken into custody.
On the dating site Plenty of Fish, where they initially met, Ms. Smith was impressed by the fact that Gould was a father and a dog lover as well.
In 2018, they went on their first date and clicked right away.
Things progressed swiftly, and I soon introduced Ben to my kids, according to Hayley. They loved him and thought he was wonderful with them.
Gould’s ex messaged Ms. Smith after the couple moved in together in June 2019 to admit that he had been living with her when they had first met online.
When Hayley questioned Gould about it, he flatly denied everything, putting an end to their little fling. Hayley admitted she was “heartbroken” to hear this.
Gould sent dozens of texts pleading for forgiveness over the course of the following week, but he wasn’t ready to give up.
When Ms. Smith realised he had been observing and hurling stones at her living room window while she had the television on, his stalking effort intensified.
She grabbed her children’s possessions out of fear and drove to her mother’s place, but Gould caused another worry by sending images of the homes of her friends where she had been.
He once even messaged her to inquire about the whereabouts of her Rottweiler, Odin.
Hayley later accused him of stealing the dog, but the police never brought any charges against him.
Hayley banned Gould after that most recent scary episode, but he kept calling using blocked or unknown numbers.
One evening, I gathered a few things and headed out to the caravan, recalls Hayley.
But when I walked in, I saw Ben sitting on the bunk bed.
I yelled at him to exit out of fear. As I sped off, I grabbed the kids and loaded them into the car.
Gould’s months of suffering came to a head when he sent ominous text messages to Hayley, claiming to be watching her from within her own house.
When the cops searched the house after being contacted, they couldn’t find Gould. He sent Hayley a text message a little while later.
“Ben messaged me to let me know he was watching me,” she claims. He must have been in the home, I thought.
However, police were unable to find him.
The cops eventually returned and discovered Gould hidden in Hayley’s loft more than a week later after he had been exchanging messages with her for the next ten days.
Once more searching Hayley’s house were the police.
Knowing that he had been so close to me and my children gave Hayley shivers.
Thank goodness he was taken into custody right away.
In January 2020, Gould admitted to stalking at Bodmin Magistrates’ Court, putting an end to Hayley’s agony.
Justices gave him a three-year restraining order as well as a 20-week suspended sentence. He was also instructed to pay a £122 victim surcharge.
For what he had put me and the kids through, according to Hayley, it wasn’t enough.
I will never fully heal psychologically from this experience. In order to safeguard women from monsters like him, much more must be done.