Lily Allen has spoken publicly for the first time about her seven year ordeal with a stalker who ended up bursting into her bedroom.
Speaking to The Observer, the musician explained that the harassment began in 2009, when Alex Gray (at the time, she didn’t know his identity) created a Twitter account using the handle @lilyallenRIP to claim that he had written her song, ‘The Fear’.
This was swiftly followed by “letters, abusive rants, accusations and suicide threats,” as the man began approaching Allen’s assistant and other colleagues. After being in contact with the police several times, she saw someone in the crowd at one of her shows with a banner saying, ‘I wrote ‘The Fear’.’
She rang the police, who lent her a panic alarm for a few months before asking for it back. Then, in October 2015, Gray burst into her bedroom – she had left the door unlocked after burning a pan and opening the back door. “I sat up and looked and the doorhandle was twisting round,” recalled Allen. “This guy came steaming in and I didn’t know who he was. I recoiled and he ripped the duvet off, calling me a ‘fucking bitch’ and yelling about where his dad is.”
Because her handbag was stolen, the police ruled that it was a burglary that was unrelated to the stalker who’d been targeting Allen, until her handbag was returned, burnt, and with the contents cut up.
Gray is now in prison, but his charges didn’t cover anything that happened before 2015, because police had destroyed the threatening letters Allen had handed in to them “according to police protocol.”
“It has affected how I live my life,” said Allen. “I’m very wary, I have trust issues. It impacts on your relationships, everything. I’m practically a hermit now.”
Allen is attempting to use what happened to her to highlight the fact that there are 700,000 victims of stalking in England and Wales every year, and yet only 1% end in prosecution. She believes that the police failed to take her concerns seriously.
“It was not special attention I looked for,” she said. “It was reassurance and validation. The police made me feel like a nuisance, rather than a victim. I feel lucky I had resources to protect myself, I could move house, get a lawyer, but if you don’t have that money, how much more terrifying must it be?
“I’m not angry at Alex Gray. He has a mental illness. The system has failed him. But until he gets the right treatment and the right help he needs, then I’m not safe. You can throw the book at him, put him in jail, but he’ll still be coming out. And the victim is never safe.”
The Met told the publication that it was not able to respond to specific allegations, but “stressed that it took stalking extremely seriously.”
I was happier because I knew I was happy
a snapshot of big hits and high tides, mostly high tides.
There is just a lot to love
the sound seemed to erupt from every side of the room
still on top
“danceable music for the end of days”
contracts its world in Nashisms
let’s take what we are offered
It’s the music, stupid