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Last Updated: Friday, 21 November, 2003, 13:20 GMT
Obsessed Dodd fan detained
Stalker Ruth Tagg with Ken Dodd
Tagg posted burning rags through Dodd's letterbox
An obsessed Ken Dodd fan who set fire to his home and sent him a rat through the post has been detained under mental health laws.

Ruth Tagg also sent Dodd a stream of anonymous love letters, which later became abusive after she felt "insulted and rejected" by the comedian.

In one letter to Dodd's Merseyside home, Tagg - who has a psychopathic disorder - included a pornographic picture of herself, during a stalking campaign that lasted throughout 2001.

Tagg, 35, from Bristol, pleaded guilty to arson and harassment earlier this year and was ordered at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday to be detained indefinitely under mental health laws.

The court heard Tagg, of St. John's Crescent, Bedminster, had followed Dodd to his shows around the country, and tried to introduce herself to him at one in Somerset, but he refused telling staff she could be a stalker.

You remain a danger to the public at large and not only to Ken Dodd and his partner
Mr Justice Morland
She was finally arrested at a show on the Wirral under suspicion of harassment.

After her campaign began in January 2001, Tagg used the pseudonym "Rose Price" to write to Dodd.

She later started sending abusive messages to his partner, with whom he lives in Knotty Ash.

Peter Davies, prosecuting, told the court: "Both Ken Dodd and his partner were disturbed by these approaches. In October of that year events took a sinister turn.

"It is well-known where Ken Dodd and his partner live in Knotty Ash but he also owns another property nearby which was subject of an arson attack while they were away."

'Frequent menace'

More than 11,000 of damage was caused to the house after Tagg pushed burning rags through the letter box.

Shortly before her arrest, Tagg sent a parcel to the couple, containing a dead rat sprayed with perfume.

Sentencing her, Mr Justice Morland said: "You were a dangerous and all too frequent menace.

"Your distorted obsession about Ken Dodd was making him and his partner's lives hazardous.

"There is happily every indication that you are overcoming the problem [but] at present you remain a danger to the public at large and not only to Ken Dodd and his partner."

Martin Picton, defending, said Tagg developed a love for Dodd, but said she was now ashamed and apologetic about her actions, and was recovering from a her disorder.

More tests for Dodd's stalker
20 Oct 03  |  Bristol
Stay in hospital, Dodd's stalker told
22 Sep 03  |  Merseyside
Stalker set fire to Dodd's home
04 Mar 03  |  England


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