A YOUNG woman says being stalked by her ex-boyfriend was like being ‘mentally raped’.

Sarah is one of the 500 harassment cases reported to Cambridgeshire police last year and has spoken out about her ordeal as part of National Stalking Awareness Day.

At the end of a nine-month relationship with John, Sarah was not allowed to walk to the shops alone.

After the break-up, Sarah's Facebook account was hacked, and John sent messages to her parents and friends saying she as a bad mother.

She said: “He wrote to my employers and changed my personal details so all my correspondence was sent elsewhere.

“I even received a letter from a mail order company asking me when I wanted goods worth more than £2,000 delivered to my home. He had hacked my account and placed a huge order.

“He would sit in his car near my home watching me and turn up at my daughter's school.”

Sarah hit her lowest point when she was arrested for grievous bodily harm after John wrote a 16-page statement saying she had attacked him with a hammer.

She added: “I spent eight hours in a cell. I just didn't know when it would end.

“When the released me I didn't want to leave the house, I worried that noone would believe me. Social Services also got involved because of the allegations.

“He'd send people to round telling me he'd drop the charges if I got back with him. I couldn't confront him because I was on bail, I felt trapped.”

Officers changed their investigation when they realised Sarah hadn't carried out the attack and focused on her former partner.

John was charged with harassment and sentenced to a community order and a two-year restraining order banning him from making any contact with Sarah, or her daughter.

Sarah said: “The only way I can describe it was like being mentally raped. He was still controlling me. I was checking every window and door in my home was securely locked and I covered the windows in case he looked in.

“I just wanted my life back. I felt it was being stolen from me.

“It was such a relief when he was charged and the sentenced. It was so nice that someone finally listened to me.”

• Sarah and John's name have been changed to protect her identity.

INFORMATION: To report stalking call police on 101, or in the case of an emergency always dial 999.

For information and advice about stalking contact the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or visit www.stalkinghelpline.org