Kristie Powell had complained to the police about her stalker, but despite the hundreds of messages she’d received from the man, authorities said they couldn’t help.
As Mamamia reports, about six months ago, the 39-year-old mom from Australia went on Facebook to warn friends that she wasn’t answering personal phone calls because she was being stalked. In her post, Powell said that a former employee had become obsessed with her, sending her hundreds of messages a day.
Powell explained that the man didn’t approach her or come to her house, but would send messages like, “Die Kristie Die,” and others that didn’t, “make any sense.” She wrote:
“He calls himself the Reaper and thinks that he is way more important than he is. Most of the time it is highly amusing and entertaining really. He needs serious help but the mental health system just keep releasing him.”
Powell said that she had, “contacted the police about him on a few occasions but there is nothing that they can really do as he is considered non-threatening.”
Unfortunately, that assessment was wrong.
According to Yahoo 7 News, at 1 a.m. Friday morning, a friend of Powell’s went to check on her and discovered that the single mom had been murdered in her home. Just yards away, Powell’s five-month-old son was in his room, “uninjured and unharmed.”
Police say there is no doubt that this was a homicide and told Yahoo 7 the mom had a, “significant amount of blood on her and some injuries.”
Aware of the Facebook posts, authorities began a search for Bhanu Kirkman, the man who allegedly stalked Powell. According to news.com.au, Kirkman was soon arrested and charged with murder. At his first court appearance on Monday, Kirkman smiled and waved at reporters who were there to cover the hearing.
Powell’s infant son is now in the care of his grandparents and uncle. Powell’s oldest brother told the Sydney Morning Herald there is some comfort to be found in how happy Powell was in her short time as a new mom:
“A mother was what she wanted to be and she was being it. She was in her element and she was in the best part of her life. She never left his side. And she had that for five months, so she went a pretty happy lady.”
According to the Office of Women’s Health, women are twice as likely to be stalked as men, and about one in six women has experienced being stalked. Stalking is defined as repeated, unwanted contact that leaves you feeling unsafe. Over time, stalkers can get worse or more violent.
If you are being stalked and believe you are in imminent danger, call 911. Go to a safe place (like a police station, fire station, or shelter) if you are worried about being followed.
Stalking is against the law, so be sure to keep evidence of stalking (such as letters, messages, and photos of damage) and record any incident of stalking to show authorities. File a complaint with the police about the stalking, being sure to give them detailed information. You’ll also want to tell employers, family, and friends about the stalker.
Help is available from domestic violence hotlines, shelters, and other services. You may also want to file a restraining order against the stalker. Finally, take whatever steps are necessary to ensure your safety, such as installing alarms or locks and keeping your phone with you at all times.