ITV presenter breaks down in tears as she relives terror of stalker who chainsawed her bush and stared into her bedroom | The Sun
A FORMER ITV newsreader broke down in tears as she relived her stalker hell.
Isla Traquair suffered nightmares and panic attacks throughout professional gardener Jonathan Barrett's "campaign of vengeance".
Traquair, 42 – who has worked for ITV News and Channel 5 – was forced to flee her home in the Cotswolds after "weird" Barrett's obsession began.
The stalker, 54, stared into her bedroom window and used a chainsaw to chop a bush in her garden – among other bizarre acts.
Ex-presenter Traquair broke down as she told Salisbury Magistrates' Court how Barrett's behaviour was more terrifying than "confronting murderers" in her work as a journalist.
Traquair – who has made programmes for the Oprah Winfrey Network in the US – was unable to eat or sleep properly and was left too scared to go outside.
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Barrett was convicted of stalking, ordered to pay £715 in fees and carry out 300 hours of community service following his trial in July.
Breaching Traquair's restraining order against him could land him in jail, the court heard.
Struggling to speak through her tears in court, Traquair said: "Writing this very short statement is one of the hardest things I have ever had to write.
"Usually I am writing about other people, and I never thought I would end up in this position…
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"I have been scared and in a state of fear for my safety since early 2021.
"Things got so bad I had to leave my home suddenly.
"My friend's husband collected me late at night so I could sleep on their sofa.
"Every aspect of my life has been negatively impacted.
"The insidious effect of [Barrett's] erratic behaviour to intimidate me and cause me fear has been devastating.
"His behaviour has caused damage to my health and mental health.
"I have been riddled with anxiety. I have been to some of the most dangerous places in the world, confronting murderers…
"But I have never felt as scared as I did in a remote home in rural Wiltshire.
"I didn't feel safe to leave my house or walk my dog. I didn't feel safe to wear certain clothes and didn't even feel safe inside my own home.
"I had no choice but to move out of my beautiful home. I can't see myself living in this home whilst this stalker lives next door."
She added: "My health has suffered; I can't eat properly, sleep properly, it has impacted my relationships.
"It was relentless and tedious to explain [to people]. I have had nothing to offer as a human being.
"I focus on helping victims of crime, and here I was not being able to help myself.
"Stalking is not just a list of offences, it is an accumulation of hundreds of things that cause fear and alarm. It is truly terrifying.
"There is no excuse to justify [Barrett's] campaign of vengeance."
Barrett shocked Traquair soon after she moved into her home in Wiltshire by climbing over her garden wall and then entering her house to offer her a sandwich.
The journalist became so fearful of her neighbour that she spent thousands fortifying her home with fences and security cameras.
Traquair – originally from Aberdeen in northeast Scotland – now rents it out as an AirBnb.
Barrett denied stalking or harassing his neighbour and even claimed it was she who had become "fixated" on him.
When Barrett was arrested in July 2021, he told officers he thought Traquair was "petty" and claimed she had "divorced a wealthy man who runs a hire company up in Scotland".
He said "because of her job, she knew which buttons to press with the police".
The stalker also claimed Traquair had become "disturbed" from working on her true crime podcast, something he admitted knowing about her because he researched her life on Wikipedia.
Lead Magistrate Mina Searles warned him he could be sent to prison if he failed to adhere to requirements imposed by the court.
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Mrs Searles told him: "I am going to give you a warning: if you break any of the requirements your sentence could be increased. This can include going to jail.
"I am obliged to remind you there is a current restraining order. If you breach that, you can be arrested and brought back to court."
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