Stalker jailed over rape and murder blog

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A stalker was jailed today after writing a blog about raping and murdering a woman he had been harassing in real life for two years.

Greg Downing detailed the imagined attack on his victim in an online novel.

The 40-year-old bombarded the author, of north London, with phone calls and emails since they met through an online dating site in 2008, Blackfriars Crown Court, in London, heard.

He was convicted of stalking her on three separate occasions before she found the blog online after typing her name into the internet search engine Google.

The 29-page piece is about a man stalking the writer, burgling her home, raping and finally murdering her.

Judge Deva Pillay sentenced Downing, of Beacon Road, Crowborough, East Sussex, to six months imprisonment.

He said: "This can only be described as a campaign of harassment.

"It is clear that your harassment of Miss Quarmby has been deliberate and premeditated so as to cause her and her family the maximum discomfort, embarrassment and fear."

Prosecutor Peter Gray said the pair met in 2008 using the online dating service on the Guardian website.

After seeing each other for four weeks, the author called off the relationship.

"Mr Downing seems to have wanted to continue contact and continue the relationship, much against the wishes of Ms Quarmby," said Mr Gray.

A short time later the writer was forced to report Downing to the police after he plagued her with text messages, calls and emails.

In summer 2008, magistrates gave him a conditional discharge and placed a restraining order on him, preventing him from contacting her or going to her address.

But the harassment continued with further telephone calls, the court heard.

Downing was hauled back before the courts and given another community order in January last year.

In January this year, he appeared in court again after getting in touch with her and breaching his order.

Shortly after the court appearance, the victim found the blog.

In a witness statement read out to the court, she said: "This seems like a fantasy or story which includes harassment, burglary of my home, rape and then finally murder.

"I am entirely worried about my personal safety and also my children's safety.

"I feel as though I am a prisoner in my own home, despite help from the police, I still feel at risk.

"The threats made were of a very serious nature."

Downing was sentenced today for "putting a person in fear of violence" after he pleaded guilty to the offence earlier this year.