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Last Updated: Friday, 7 October 2005, 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK
'No predicting' stalker murder
Clare and Patricia Bernal: Pics from Granada/PA
Mrs Bernal said she did not realise how dangerous Clare's killer was
The murder of a Harvey Nichols shop assistant by her stalker could not have been predicted, Scotland Yard has said.

Clare Bernal, 22, was shot by her ex-boyfriend Michael Pech at London's Harvey Nichols store, while he was on bail after admitting harassing her.

Her mother Patricia, from Tunbridge Wells, said she could not understand why she was not better protected.

But police said Pech had not been in touch with Miss Bernal for five months before the shooting on 13 September.

"We could not have predicted from the nature of Pech's harassment of Clare that he would murder her," a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

The statement was issued in response to Mrs Bernal's interview on ITV's Tonight with Trevor McDonald programme.

28 Feb: Relationship ends
5 Apr: Formal police complaint made
6:Apr: Arrested and bailed
10 Apr: Rearrested after approaching Clare
11 Apr: Denies harassment and held in custody
19 Apr: Granted conditional bail
31 Aug: Admits harassment and is bailed
13 Sep: Kills Clare then himself

"I want to understand why Clare wasn't protected from the word go," she told the programme.

"Clare thought she was safe, I thought she was safe.

"She was very scared, she was frightened and I actually thought that she was being protected."

Former Harvey Nichols security guard Pech, 30, had a brief relationship with Miss Bernal, but after it ended he is said to have pestered her with phone calls and started following her.

He was arrested and questioned on 6 April but was released on police bail on the condition he did not contact her or go to Dulwich Village, south-east London, where she lived, or the Harvey Nichols store in Knightsbridge.

But five days later, when he approached Miss Bernal near her home, he was again arrested and charged with harassment.

The Metropolitan Police Service would like to offer deepest sympathy to the Bernal family
Police statement

Scotland Yard said this showed police were "closely monitoring the situation".

Police say he made no contact with her between his release on bail on 19 April, and his next court appearance on 31 August - at which he admitted harassment.

He was granted bail while awaiting sentencing. Two weeks later he shot Miss Bernal several times in the head, before killing himself.

Mrs Bernal told the programme Pech "should have been locked up".

The police statement added: "The Metropolitan Police Service would like to offer deepest sympathy to the Bernal family following the loss of Clare.

"This must be a very distressing time for them and our thoughts are with them."

Service for stalker death victim
26 Sep 05 |  England

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