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Wednesday, June 17, 1998 Published at 23:24 GMT 00:24 UK

World: Americas

Spielberg stalker jailed

Oscar winner Spielberg: "living in fear"

A man who stalked director Steven Spielberg has been jailed for 25 years in California.

Mr Spielberg told the court he feared stalker Jonathan Norman intended to "rape or maim him."

[ image: Norman:
Norman: "obsessed" with Spielberg
Norman, 31, planned to attack the Oscar winning director in front of his wife, the court heard.

And prosecutors said Norman was carrying a 'rape kit' when he was arrested in the grounds of Mr Spielberg's home.

Norman, who was convicted in March, was sentenced under California's 'three strikes' law which increases penalties for repeat offenders. Norman had two previous felony convictions.

He was found guilty of a plot to invade the director's mansion, hold him and his family hostage and rape the director.

Spielberg addresses court

Mr Spielberg, who is famous for films such as ET, Schindler's List and Raiders of the Lost Ark, told the court: "Had Jonathan Norman actually confronted me, I genuinely, in my heart of hearts, believe that I would have been raped or maimed or killed.

[ image: Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw]
Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw
"If he's out on the street, I will live in fear."

"I place myself in your hands. The prospect that Jonathan Norman might have another opportunity to carry out his threats is beyond frightening to me."

Superior Court Judge Steven Suzakawa said Norman was "obsessive and frightening." He added: "I think he does present a danger to society."

The director was in Ireland working on a new film, Saving Private Ryan, when Norman broke into the grounds of his mansion last year.

[ image: Spielberg's mansion]
Spielberg's mansion
Norman was arrested after making two attempts to enter Spielberg's Pacific Palisades home in June and July 1997.

Police said Norman had lists of Mr Spielberg's family members and associates. He was also carrying handcuffs, duct tape and a razor knife when arrested. The prosecution called the equipment a "rape kit."

Prosecutors described Norman as sexually obsessed with the director.

Mr Spielberg left the court after addressing Judge Suzakawa and was not in court to hear the sentencing.

Norman's defence lawyer Charles Krindler says he is planning to appeal.

Terror of Hollywood

Mr Spielberg's ordeal is the latest in a long line of celebrity stalking cases.

Madonna was terrorised for five years by Robert Hoskins, a homeless loner who theatened to "slice her from ear to ear."

Hoskins was eventually jailed for 10 years after breaking into her home.

Others stars who have received the unwanted attentions of stalkers include Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Olivia Newton-John and Michael J Fox.

And ex-President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, who thought the act would make him a hero to Jodie Foster.

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