The heartbreaking story of a stalking victim murdered by her boyfriend has formed the basis of an award winning podcast.
University of Sunderland graduate Emma Casson had interviewed Alice Ruggles just a year before she was killed.
So moved by the tragedy, Emma, 25, a graduate in Advanced Radio Production and Management, felt she needed to warn others about the dangers of stalking.
Now, in Stalking Awareness Week, Emma has told how she met and interviewed the family and friends of Alice in the months following her death.
Emma, from Wallsend, said: “After what happened to Alice, all I could think was that this could have been me, or one of my friends.
“I want more people to be aware of what stalking is and the consequences it can have.”
Emma’s documentary podcast, ‘Alice’s Story’ has now been received a Silver Award from the Charles Parker Prize. The Prize is awarded each year for the Best Student Radio Feature and is open to any student studying radio production at Further or Higher Education establishments throughout the UK.
Lance Corporal Trimaan “Harry” Dhillon is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of 24-year-old Alice at her Gateshead flat in October 2016.
Dhillon had driven 120 miles from his barracks near Edinburgh to confront Miss Ruggles before murdering her.
A jury at Newcastle Crown Court convicted him of murder after they took less than two hours to dismiss his story that she had accidentally stabbed herself.
A year before her death, Alice, who had been working for Sky in Newcastle, was interviewed by Emma for a project about moving from university into working life.
“It was funny,” recalls Emma. “I turned up to interview her and we were both wearing the exact same outfit from New Look.
“I liked her straight away, she was a lovely girl and we were around the same age.”
After hearing about the murder – and the subsequent campaign of stalking which Dhillon had inflicted on Alice – Emma felt she needed to do something.
“I saw that Alice’s family had set up the Alice Ruggles Trust,” said Emma. “So I arranged to interview them as well as Maxine McGill who had been Alice’s flatmate.”
The interviews would form the basis of the Alice’s Story podcast in which listeners hear first-hand about the campaign of stalking which ultimately led to Alice’s death.
Emma, who is currently working freelance making documentary podcasts, said: “Alice’s family are such strong and dignified people and it’s really important to them to get the message out there about stalking.
“A lot of young people don’t realise just how easy it can be to track someone online. It’s incredible the amount someone can find out about you just through social media accounts.”
Emma has also set up a website which offers advice and guidance around the issue of stalking. The podcast is also available to listen to.
This week is National Stalking Awareness Week with efforts being made across the UK to raise the profile of the problem.
According to the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, 73% of stalking victims experience 100 incidents before reporting any to the police.
For more information about National Stalking Awareness Week visit the Alice Ruggles Trust website
Are you a victim of stalking? Where to get help:
- The best thing is to phone the Suzy Lamplugh Trust’s National Stalking Helpline: 0808 802 0300. They are open weekdays between 09:30 and 16:00, except Wednesdays when they open at 13:00.
- You can also call 101 to contact the police.
- Paladin’s National Stalking Advocacy Service also provides support, advice and advocacy to high-risk victims of stalking. While they are often called in by professionals, Paladin may also be contacted directly on 0203 866 4107, or e-mailed at info [at] paladinservice.co.uk