A former ITV news presenter who was stalked by an ‘infatuated’ neighbour after she moved in next door has said that she ‘burst out crying’ when he was convicted.
Isla Traquair, 42, suffered nightmares and panic attacks due to Jonathan Barrett stalking her between March and September last year following her move into an idyllic 1700s country cottage on the outskirts of the Cotswolds.
Barrett, 53, who was convicted of stalking at Salisbury Magistrates Court on Thursday, ‘terrorised’ Ms Traquair for seven months, even climbing over her garden wall and entering her house to offer her a sandwich.
‘This is why I’ve been very quiet. This is a win for victims of stalking (there aren’t many wins) and it’s my duty to raise awareness about the horrendous impact of stalking and the shockingly low conviction rates,’ she said on Facebook.
‘This has been one of the worst weeks of my life but it was worth it to see justice done. I found out via WhatsApp on a train and burst out crying.
‘More to be said, but I’ve just been reunited with my mum and dad and I’m going to enjoy them without the gigantic weight that’s been on my shoulders since early 2021.’
Isla Traquair (pictured), 42, suffered nightmares and panic attacks due to Jonathan Barrett stalking her between March and September last year following her move into an idyllic 1700s country cottage on the outskirts of the Cotswolds
The journalist became so terrified of her obsessive stalker that she spent thousands of pounds fortifying her home with fences and security cameras before eventually fleeing her home in the small Wiltshire town of Corsham.
‘I can’t live in my home,’ she said during the three day trial. She has still not returned in almost a year.
She broke down in tears while giving evidence, saying: ‘It has affected every part of my life. I can’t live in my home, I have had to stay with friends on their couches.
‘There were periods of time I moved away and hoped the police would have another word with him.’
She added: ‘I have had nightmares, it’s affected my relationships… When I was in the house I barely went out at all because I was scared I would see him.
‘I have panic attacks, I would wake in the middle of the night. Even if I saw a white van, because that’s what he drives, that would set me off.
Barrett (above), 53, who was convicted of stalking at Salisbury Magistrates Court on Thursday, ‘terrorised’ Ms Traquair for seven months, even climbing over her garden wall and entering her house to offer her a sandwich
‘I was scared of him, I wanted to avoid him at all costs, his behaviour was frightening to me.
‘I left my home and I honestly just tried to bury all this. It breaks my heart I can’t live in my own home.’
Ms Traquair, originally from Aberdeen, recently worked on the Oprah Winfrey Network in the United States and released a true crime podcast ‘The Storyteller: Violent Delights’.
Barrett shook his head as he was convicted of stalking his next door neighbour. He was told that his behaviour amounted to harassment and was banned from peering into her property.
Magistrate Mina Searles said: ‘We do find you guilty. We find that you pursued a course of conduct that caused alarm and distress.
‘We found Ms Traquair to be a credible witness… In terms of your evidence, we found inconsistencies which demonstrated an obsession and infatuation with [Ms Traquair] over a fairly significant period.
The journalist became so terrified of her obsessive stalker that she spent thousands of pounds fortifying her home with fences and security cameras before eventually fleeing her home in the small Wiltshire town of Corsham
‘Regarding the sandwich incident, you talked about Ms Traquair’s energies “flagging” by the end of the day.
‘The only conclusion we can draw from this is that you were obsessed and you were watching her.
‘On the standing and staring into her property over quite a lot of different times, including when the camera was installed… we find this was loitering and harassment.’
Barrett will be sentenced later this month but was handed an immediate restraining order to not contact Ms Traquair or enter or look into her property for one year.
Mrs Searles, who was chair of a two magistrate bench, added: ‘I can see you are shaking your head, but you must adhere to that. Any breach of a restraining order is very serious, I must warn you.’
Alicia Doble, prosecuting, previously told the three day trial: ‘(Ms Traquair) is a journalist, a relatively well known journalist, and it seems when she moved in Mr Barrett took an interest in her and in her life.
Ms Traquair, originally from Aberdeen, used to present ITV and Channel 5 news. She has recently worked on the Oprah Winfrey Network in the United States and released a true crime podcast ‘The Storyteller: Violent Delights’
‘He admits to looking her up when she moved in and seemed to know facts about her she didn’t tell him.
‘Over the coming months he became obsessed with her. He would loiter outside her house, look through windows, stand on her wall and look into her conservatory.’
Barrett denied stalking or harassing his neighbour, even claiming she had become ‘fixated’ on him.
When he was arrested in July he told officers Ms Traquair he had researched her online after she moved in and that she was ‘petty’ and had ‘divorced a wealthy man who runs a hire company up in Scotland’ and ‘because of her job, she knew which buttons to press with the police’.
He told the court his interest in her was not abnormal, he had not been trying to see into her home and he had simply glimpsed a photo of her naked when she had shown him her mobile phone.
Barrett, who lives in a £380,000 one bed semi-detached home next to Ms Traquair’s in the village of Corsham, was found guilty of stalking at Salisbury Magistrates Court (pictured)
He said: ‘I have never ever seen her naked. The only time was when she showed me her paintings on her mobile phone and there was a picture of her naked which she scrolled past.’
He claimed she had become ‘disturbed’ from working on her true crime podcast, something he admitted knowing about her because he researched her life on Wikipedia.
‘I know she was telling true crime murder stories and I think seeking out stories that send chills down people’s spines has become a fixation for her that she lives on, that fear.’
Barrett, who lives in a £380,000 one bed semi-detached home next to Ms Traquair’s in the village of Corsham, Wiltshire, was convicted of one charge of stalking.
Magistrates found three incidents did not happen – following her to a farm shop, watching her through her conservatory window washing at 7am, and banging on the outside of her home in September which made her flee.
Barrett will be sentenced at Salisbury Magistrates Court on August 18.