A DOMESTIC abuse victim has told of her six months of “unimaginable hell” after she was secretly stalked by the police officer sent out to rescue her.
This week, with cop Mark Wilkie safely behind bars, Maria Snow revealed how he sent her thousands of anonymous and inappropriate texts from a stolen mobile phone.
“My phone was constantly beeping, every hour of the day and night. Sometimes there would be calls and all I could hear was someone breathing. I had no idea who this person was and it was the most terrifying thing ever.”
The attractive 48-year-old first met Wilkie in 2009 when her young son called police during a dispute involving Maria’s husband at the family’s luxury detached home.
“This Leighton Buzzard policeman arrived and dealt with the matter. But I can remember thinking he was unusually chatty, considering the circumstances, and he seemed to hang around for too long afterwards.”
Months later, in February 2010, Maria dialled 999 to report her husband has smashed up her possessions and was threatening her.
Mark Willkie arrived again but, after the husband was taken to the police station, left Maria with another officer to make a statement.
“While we were sitting at my kitchen table my phone beeped. The text said: ‘ You are so sexy and gorgeous.’ I just assumed somebody had got the wrong number.”
But the texts persisted. Unbeknown to Maria, Wilkie had gone into the police database to get private phone numbers not only for her but for a string of other vulnerable female victims.
The stress of being harassed, coupled with a divorce, caused Maria’s weight to plummet and her hair to fall out. Sentencing Wilkie, the judge sympathised with her “trauma”.
Divorce Wilkie, who lives in Newport Pagnell, admitted harassing 12 women and pleaded guilty to 12 counts of misconduct in a public office.
The judge, sentencing him to three years and four months in prison, described him as “sexually obsessed.” He said the offences were “an appalling breach of trust” which undermined public confidence in the police.
Maria, due to be prime witnesses in the case if Wilkie pleaded not guilty, has described the shock when she discovered her tormenter’s identity.
“The police called and said they’d found my stalker. When they told me it was a police officer I couldn’t believe it.
“It was just so horrible – and the ultimate violation. If you can’t trust a policeman called out when you are at your most vulnerable, who on earth can you trust?”
But the way police officers handled Wilkie’s case has helped restore Maria’s faith, she said.
“The Bedfordshire officers were lovely – and appalled at what Wilkie had done. I think everyone feels better now he is behind bars.”