Stalker who accused doctor of rape faces jail

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A stalker who ruined a psychiatrist's life - destroying his wedding plans and accusing him of rape - has been warned she may face a long jail sentence.

But a furious Maria Mar-chese denied her guilt angrily to Judge John Price after he told her she had "terrorised" Dr Jan Falkowski and his fiancée Deborah Pemberton.

For almost a year, Marchese, 45, preyed on the couple, spying on them, bombarding them with abusive phone calls and text messages as well as calling their friends and family.

At one point, she threatened to poison the food at their wedding. The reception was cancelled and eventually Ms Pemberton broke off the engagement. But for Dr Falkowski, 45, worse was to come when Marchese accused him of rape and he was charged. The case was dropped before it reached trial but he lost all his private patients and many friends.

Yesterday the psychiatrist said: "The damage this false accusation has inflicted on my life and those close to me is immeasurable. I hope that by reading about our harrowing experiences of being stalked, other victims of stalking and of rape allegations will feel that they are not alone."

After Argentinian-born Marchese , a cheese-seller at Selfridge's, was found guilty of harassment as well as threatening to kill and perverting the course of justice, she said: "I did not commit these offences."

London's Southwark Crown Court heard how she had claimed to have put a bomb on a powerboat that Dr Falkowski was to race and bombarded Ms Pemberton with messages including one which warned she would be "burnt down in her wedding dress". Others read, "Dig your own grave" and, "Your life will end, gunman paid". Marchese had become obsessed when she met the consultant psychiatrist - a triple world power-boat record-holder - while he was treating her partner for mental illness in 2002. Deluded into believing she had a relationship with Dr Falkowski, she became convinced Ms Pemberton was ruining their happiness, later spending thousands of pounds trying to destroy his life and reputation.

Marchese, of Bow, east London, was arrested but stalking charges were dropped. She falsified DNA evidence against the psychiatrist by picking one of his used condoms out of a rubbish bin to back her rape claim, the court was told.

Judge Price said she had terrorised the couple. He told Marchese: "It is my humane hope that something can be done for you; if not, you are going to prison for a very long time."

Dr Falkowski said later: "The victims of rape are rightly given anonymity but I strongly feel this should also be extended to the accused until trial. In my case, this gave Marchese the freedom to make a false allegation, then systematically use this to destroy my reputation by approaching the press, my employers and organisations to do as much damage as possible."

Sentencing was adjourned till 22 September pending psychiatric reports.