In interviews with Newsnight and The Observer she revealed that she had been stalked intermittently for seven years.
Another week, another slew of female stars share the tales of harassment and intimidation that have marked their journey to the top. From Christina Aguilera revealing that older executives tried to take advantage of her when she was a teen, to Grimes revealing that producers would threaten to stop recording sessions if she refused to go back to hotel rooms with her, now Lily Allen is speaking out about how the police left her exposed to assault from her mentally ill stalker.
In an interview with Kirsty Wark on Newsnight, Allen said she felt the Metropolitan Police victim shamed her when she spoke publicly about her dissatisfaction with how the investigation into her stalker had progressed.
Preyed upon, intermittently, for seven years by a man whose identity she did not know, Allen's request for a photograph of the man was flatly rejected by the police, who eventually showed her a snap 'for about 30 seconds' five year ago.
In October 2015, Gray broke into her house, while she and her children slept. His mother later claimed she had received word from him that he had come into some money (which Allen thinks he stole from her) and that he was determined to 'kill a celebrity'. The police never warned Allen.
At his bail hearing, her stalker -Alex Gray, shouted abuse at her, and told the judge that he should be released on bail as 'the world would be better off without Allen.'
“Every time I tried to talk to someone about it, it was like hitting a brick wall," Allen told The Observer, who says that initially Gray was just charged with theft. "It’s difficult to articulate it when you have no definition, when the police are saying, ‘right, it’s burglary if you want this guy to get a prison sentence’, and you’re thinking, ‘but I don’t give a shit about my handbag. What I give a shit about is a man who is saying he wants to put a knife through my face.’”
A harassment charge has since been added, but Allen says that both she and Gray have been failed by the system. "I’m not in the slightest bit angry with Alex Gray. I could see from the minute that he came into my bedroom that he was ill and that he needed help. I feel like he has been let down. I have been let down, and how many other people are being let down.”
This week is National Stalking Awareness Week in the UK. An editorial in The Observer, which coincided with Lilly Allen's interview, revealed that there are 700,000 reported cases of stalking each year in the UK. One in five women- and one in 10 men, will experience stalking in their adult lives, often with profound consequences both personal and professional. Only 1% are recorded.
Allen is working with the Women's Equality Party- and the stalking advocacy service Paladin, on a campaign to set up a register for serial stalkers. As the Observer points out- "stalking is murder in slow motion'. The slow buildup involved means it should be preventable: there are no acceptable excuses for failing its victims"