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Friday, August 21, 1998 Published at 23:42 GMT 00:42 UK


'Pam' stalker victim: I feel let down

Perry Southall: Subjected to eight months of terrifying harassment

A Pamela Anderson lookalike who saw the man who stalked her for eight months go free says she feels let down by the mental health system.

Dental receptionist Perry Southall, 24, was harassed by Clarence Morris, 39, between October 1995 and May 1996.

[ image: Clarence Morris: Already had 45 previous convictions]
Clarence Morris: Already had 45 previous convictions
He bombarded her with love letters and presents and loitered outside the surgery where she worked in Whitechapel, east London.

Morris was sentenced to 46 months in jail at Southwark Crown Court, but on Friday he walked free, having already spent 27 months in custody.

He was released because doctors decided he should not be placed in a secure mental hospital.

Ms Southall, who has been likened to the star of TV's Baywatch, told ITN's News at Ten: "I feel let down by the mental health system - not the police or the judge, because they have done their very best.

"But you have got all these psychiatrists and they have got the power to put these people away and they don't use that power."

In an earlier court appearance, psychiatrist Dr Neil Boast, who examined Morris, found that he had a mental disorder but that it was "untreatable" and that he could not be sent to hospital by the judge.

Evonne Hoissen: "We talk about justice for the criminal. What about the victim?"
Four weeks later, a psychiatrist from Rampton secure hospital said he felt Morris might qualify for treatment at the hospital.

This prompted Judge Peter Fingret to order a further assessment, which led him to the decision to release Morris.

Evonne Hoissen, director of the National Anti-Stalking and Harassment Support Association, said victims feel the legal system is letting them down.

"By putting the person in jail, it gives the victim and the victim's family a window of opportunity to get their lives sorted and get themselves back together," she said.

Legal loophole

Judge Fingret said it was "regrettable" that the limitations of the Mental Health Act prevented him from sending Morris to a secure hospital, where he could be treated indefinitely.

Anne Strahan, of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which advises on how to deal with stalkers, said there was a loophole in the law.

"The fundamental problem is that for someone to be sent to a psychiatric hospital they need to have a treatable psychiatric illness.

"While someone may not be normal by the standards of a normal person in the street, unless they have a treatable psychiatric illness they cannot be sent to an institution."

The campaign group Victim Support was also disappointed. A spokeswoman said the judgment would not encourage victims of stalking to come forward.

Harry Fletcher, of the National Association of Probation Officers, said stalking was a relatively common offence which should be punished by the courts.

Long ordeal

Morris was said to have become captivated by Miss Southall's similarity to Pamela Anderson.

Between October 1995 and May 1996 he attended the dental surgery more than 200 times, often beating on the doors and demanding to see her, or standing outside bellowing his love for her.

Miss Southall told the court of her terror: "Before Clarence Morris came on the scene, I was a confident, outgoing person. He has reduced me to a point where I find it hard to cope with everyday life."

Under the terms of his release, Morris will be required to avoid contact with Miss Southall, live at an address specified by probation officers and to receive appropriate medical treatment.

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14 Aug 98 | UK
Victim left in fear as stalker goes free

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