Phone App Could Have Ended My Stalking Nightmare Within Minutes.Phone App could have ended my Stalking Nightmare within minutes.
September 1998, I was 23. I had a nice car, a successful business, a string of girlfriends, a very busy social life and a great bachelor pad in Surrey. Life couldn’t get any better.
My story starts 13 years ago on a late night in October, my friends and I had been out to a local bar and as I was walking home with my flat mate my phone rang, I naturally answered it and said “hello” but no one replied, I said it again but still no reply so I just hung up. As I was running my own small business at the time I would often get evening calls from suppliers so I didn’t really give it a second thought, until it happened the next night, and the night after that and the night after that.
The number was always withheld and for the first few times nothing was said by the caller. It didn’t worry me to start with, it just got annoying. If my phone rang and I noticed the call was withheld I didn’t even bother to answer it.
About two weeks into the nuisance calls I was at home on my own finishing off some paperwork and a nice bottle of red, suddenly my phone rang, it was from a withheld number, I answered it and after a few seconds of silence I told them to leave me alone otherwise I would call the police, I hung up. About a minute later my phone rang again so this time I just left it until it stopped. Then my phoned beeped, I looked at it, I had received a voice mail…
The answer phone message was a woman’s voice telling me that my outside security light will go on at 10.30pm. I looked down at my watch and it was 10.25pm.
I put the chain on the door, checked the windows were closed, turned the lights off and sat on the sofa. I didn’t know how to feel, I guess I was scared but didn’t want to admit it. I sat there starring at my watch and sure enough at 10.30pm my security light came on, I froze. I decided to text my flat mate to find out what time he was going to be home, but as I went into messages I noticed a text message from him telling me that he had changed the security light settings to 10.30pm, as our neighbour had complained that it was coming on too late. Just then the front door opened and stopped on the chain with a loud clash, I jumped up and shouted something, then I heard my flat mate’s voice calling out why is the bloody chain on the door?
Over the next few weeks I would receive phone calls from this girl on a daily basis, the calls were her asking me normal questions like “How are you feeling today?” and “Did you sleep ok last night?” but before I could answer she would always hang up.
Then the questions got a bit more detailed and she would say something like “Enjoy your family roast on Sunday at 4 o clock, don’t be late” and “Remember you have a delivery tomorrow at 6am, wrap up warm”. One of the calls I distinctly remember is when she read my sisters new phone number out to me over the phone - my sister had only changed her number that day.
My flat mate and I came to the conclusion that it’s obviously some girl I took out once and never phone her again and she would probably just get bored if I ignored her, so I decided to switch my phone off and take my girlfriend away for the weekend.
After a great weekend away I dropped my girlfriend home late Sunday night and went home myself.
When I got into bed I reached for my phone that had been plugged in and turned off all weekend to see if I had any messages. I had a few business voice mails, some from my friends trying to plan next weekend and one from ‘her’ which I will never forget.
She started of very quiet singing the song by Biork ‘Oh so quiet’, then as the song went on she would get louder and louder until the chorus which she literally screamed down the phone.
From this moment on her tone changed, the phone calls became more abusive and threatening. She started to contact me more often, when I in the pub or at the cinema, making it very clear that she knew exactly where I was and who I was with. On my friends 21st surprise birthday party held at his house she called me and listed everyone who was there, she seemed to know my plans as quickly as I was finalising them. At this point I had no choice but suspect everyone and anyone I knew, family and friends alike.
My social life was busy, most nights we would be out in a group of no less than ten of us, drinking, meeting new people and having a good time. I started to take note of who was with me, if I received a call I could slowing eliminate those I could see. This turned out to be a very difficult task especially after a few beers.
My sister persuaded me to go to the police, but being a grown man I was a bit concerned that they may not take me seriously, I was wrong. They were very understanding but as I hadn’t a clue of who she could be, the fact that I couldn’t recognise her voice and had no idea of where she was getting her information from they couldn’t really help me.
So I decided to investigate it myself. I started to write down all the information I could when she phoned me, the time of the call, what she said, if she was angry or calm, who I had been out with the night before and so on.
I came to the conclusion that the information she knew had been texted to me in a message prior to her calling me. For example, my Mum text me saying, ‘Dinner at 4, don’t be late’.
So she would have had to have access to my phone at some point with enough time to go through my messages for her to obtain the information needed. The trouble is I leave my phone lying around all the time, at work, on the bar, on the table, I usually have to get someone to phone it at the end of the night just to find out where I left it.
Back then security for phones is not what it’s like today, I didn’t have a passcode as I had no need for one, she would have only needed a few seconds to look at my phone and take note of what I was doing over the next few days.
From then on when I went out I would purposely leave my phone somewhere and try to watch from the other side of the bar to see if anyone picked it up, but no one ever did.
I started to keep my phone on me more often. I still got drunk and left my phone unattended on the odd occasion but never as careless as I used to be. The calls became less frequent but still quite abusive. I had managed put a stop to her accessing my phone but I still had no idea who she was.
A few weeks later my girlfriend took me out to celebrate my birthday, as we were having a drink at the bar my phone rang, it was ‘her’, shouting at me, telling me how she is going to hurt me and the people I cared about. I calmly told her that I had been to the police and that they were tracing the call as we speak and all future calls to and from my phone. I told her that this is the chance for her to stop. I hung up and my girlfriend and I enjoyed the rest of our evening.
From that moment on I never heard from her again, and on a lighter note that ‘girlfriend’ became my wife and we are expecting our fourth child in the New Year.
Those six months have never left me and I doubt they ever will.
I feel for others who are stalked and preyed upon in much more violent ways than what I went through.
Ten years on I have finally developed an IPhone App that I think can help people in similar situations. I know that it would have put a stop to those events in my life within minutes of me suspecting someone was checking my phone.
The technology was not ready for when I needed it, but it is now. If you suspect anyone is tampering with your phone then please read on…
Message Spy was created for individuals who suspect someone has been looking at the contents of their phone without their knowledge.
Whether text messages are being read, photos are being viewed or the call list being looked at. Message Spy will not only confirm this, but it will identify the culprit by taking a silent snapshot as soon as the screen is touched.
Message Spy is for anyone and everyone.
We have all thought at some point in our lives that somebody has been checking our phone.
The app has many other ways to confront the culprit including: voice messages, texts, alarms, camera sound and for the actual photo of the culprit to appear on the screen.
This app can be used for fun or it can be used seriously.