Tayside and Central Scotland

Lily Allen's stalker 'needs help, not jail' says family

Lily Allen
Image caption Lily Allen said the experience had left her "a changed person"

A man who stalked singer Lily Allen for seven years "needs help, not jail", according to his family.

Alex Gray, from Perth in Tayside, is awaiting sentence after being convicted earlier this month of burglary and harassment.

The singer said she was not angry with Gray and claimed "the system has failed him", a view echoed by his mother.

The 30-year-old started pursuing the star by sending abusive rants and accusations in letters.

He progressed to banging on her door and spending nights in her back garden.

Gray was eventually charged by police after an incident last October when the singer was awoken by him bursting into her bedroom in the early hours.

Allen said she was made to feel like a "nuisance rather than a victim" by police, adding that the experience had left her "a changed person".

'Years of torture'

Gray's mother Michelle said she had tried to get help for her son from the authorities for years.

Speaking on the Good Morning Britain programme, she said: "I had no idea that he had been stalking Lily Allen and putting her through these years of torture.

"We knew he had a fixation with her but not that he had actually been anywhere near her.

"We just thought he had a fantasy in his head."

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Lily Allen was relaxing in her flat last year when a stalker broke in and confronted her in her bedroom.

"I'm lying in bed and I can see the door handle moving and then he steams in, starts screaming and shouting... I could see he was really agitated and upset," she told the BBC's Newsnight.

Alex Gray, from Perth, was charged and found guilty of harassment and burglary and is awaiting sentencing. It was the culmination of an ordeal that started back in 2008 when Gray first contacted Allen on Twitter. Over time he began turning up at her house and office, left abusive notes and made suicide threats.

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She added: "We knew he had a mental disorder and he had been diagnosed with paranoid delusional schizophrenia two years ago and he was meant to be on medication for this, but nobody was ensuring that that was happening.

"It escalated after his dad died. He got worse and we knew he was getting worse. We tried to get him help and nobody would help us at all."

His sister Kaylie Gray said: "I don't think it's going to be good for either party - for Alex, for us, for her (Allen) - if he just goes to prison because he's not going to get any help.

"He's just going to continue to get worse and then he's going to get released without any help and we are just back to square one again."

No remorse

Asked if Gray had shown any remorse, his sister replied: "No, Alex is a very closed book.

"He doesn't like to talk about anything and because of his disorder he thinks people are tapping phones, so he won't talk to me about things like that over the phone."

His mother added: "He finds it hard to... separate what's real and what's not real, it's part of his illness, I think."

Image copyright PPA
Image caption Alex Gray was convicted of burglary and harassment earlier this month

Kaylie Gray said the family has not had any contact with Lily Allen.

She added: "We are really sorry that it got this far. It's horrendous what her and her family have had to go through and obviously we feel so horrible for her."

In an interview with The Observer, Allen said: "Until he gets the right treatment and the right help he needs, then I'm not safe.

"You can throw the book at him, put him in jail, but he'll still be coming out. And the victim is never safe."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman would not comment on Allen's case but said they took stalking and harassment "extremely seriously".

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