A new BBC documentary featuring Stacey Dooley investigating stalkers has this week aired on UK screens. The hard-hitting yet sensitively made documentary comes at an incredibly apt time, a time when women’s safety is finally and rightly in the spotlight.
Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa and Ashling Murphy are just three of the women who have been murdered in the past year and these names ring in the ears of every woman as she walks home from work or a night out. In October 2021 it was reported that 81 women were murdered in circumstances where the suspect was a man in just 28 weeks. A shocking statistic but one that has only recently come into focus or started to make national headlines.
Stacey Dooley’s documentary isn’t an easy watch but it is an essential piece of journalism which finally puts the safety and rights of women at the forefront, calling on the government and police forces to do more to protect women.
At Insight Investigations the ever-present threat to women’s safety is something that we are all too familiar with – our specialist stalking team has worked cases similar to those highlighted in the documentary for many years. In particular, the case of Al Amin Dhalla who was convicted of seven offences at Lewes Crown Court in February 2012. Dr Hewitt’s mother, Pam, says that Tony Smith (a senior investigator at Insight Investigations) “helped save my daughter’s life and probably mine as well”.
When Alison’s mother became suspicious of her daughter’s new partner and his haste to get married, she hired Tony to investigate his past. Through skilled investigative work Tony uncovered that Al Almin had a violent past in Canada and had even lied about his criminal record on his Visa application to enter the UK. After Alison broke off the relationship, Al Almin started a vicious and calculated stalking campaign against both Alison and her parents resulting in him being arrested at the hospital where Alison worked. Having already set fire to the Hewitt’s home, when he was caught, he was armed with a crossbow and had a van with various restraint items inside
Judge Charles Kemp who prosecuted Al Almin said: “You showed a deliberate and chilling degree of organisation and planning. You have tried to put the blame on drink and drugs that you were consuming at the time. That is no excuse.”
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Speaking about the case, Alison’s mother Pam said: “We will be forever grateful to Tony for the information and support he gave us. I am convinced that Tony helped save my daughter’s life and probably mine as well. The police could not get the information I desperately needed but, thankfully, Tony stepped in and confirmed my worst suspicions”.
“Tony was able to get the facts I needed so that my daughter could make an informed decision regarding her relationship. I knew he was dangerous and would probably break her heart but needed some reliable evidence to warn her – this is the point at which Tony came to our rescue.”
Through Tony’s work, Alison was able to remove herself from the relationship and Al Amin’s true character came out. Unfortunately, this is just one of the many cases our team have assisted in over the years. Despite the introduction of Stalking Protection Orders in 2020, these often aren’t enough to protect women and so private investigators are often hired to assist in situations by either the individual themselves or their family.
If you have concerns, or anything in the documentary has made you think that certain behaviours you’re witnessing aren’t quite right, then have a quick look at our information on stalker investigations and what to do if you believe you are being stalked.
Sometimes this behaviour can be even more subtle and we’ve also set out information on how to prevent online stalking, which is another serious form of harassment which can cause great distress.
If you are worried for your own personal safety or you have concerns about a new partner in a loved one’s life, then you can contact us on the number below or use our contact form here for a free consultation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We will connect you with one of our specialist team who handle matters such as this with every sensitivity, and of course in the strictest confidence.
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However, if you feel you are in immediate danger you should contact the police or contact one of the following helplines: