The five types of stalkers and how to spot them

When Moi University student Ivy Wangechi was murdered, it turned out that the man behind the brutal incident, felt ignored by her rejection.

He is said to have asked someone to spy on her and report back what the medical student was upto. He later caught up with her and hacked her to death.

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Stalking is on the increase, say scientists, and it’s not just celebrities who are under threat.

And, claim scientists, stalkers can now be split into five distinct groups: the rejected stalker, the intimacy stalker, the incompetent stalker, the resentful stalker and – most dangerous of all – the predatory stalker

Ivy Wangechi and Naftalia Kinuthia
Ivy Wangechi

Professor Paul Mullen, of Monash University, Australia, claims ordinary people are now more at risk than once thought.

He blames the rise in celebrity culture and social changes such as greater instability in relationships, more difficulty in finding partners and the rise of a blame culture in society.

‘We define everything by our relationships,’ he said. ‘But there are many people who are socially isolated and rely on fabrication or delusion for their core identity.’

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Men and women aged between 16 and 30 were most at risk. One in five women and one in ten men between these ages had experienced some form of stalking.

This compares with 12 per cent of women and four per cent of men aged between 45 and 60.

Professor Mullen said: ‘Those figures seem odd because obviously the older group have lived longer and would have been expected to have had more experience of relationship break-ups and things like stalking.

‘The high rate among the younger age group tends to indicate that rates are rising, and pretty rapidly too.’

Professor Mullen suggests stalkers fall into five distinct groups. They are:

• The rejected stalker: The rejected stalker cannot accept that a relationship is over and swings between dependency on the other person, pleading for a reconciliation and flying into a rage at being rejected.

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This is the most common type of stalker. They are usually male, and account for about half of all stalking cases.

• The intimacy stalker: These stalkers often target celebrities or people they do not know. They fix on someone and believe they are in love with them. They also think in time their love will be reciprocated.

This group accounts for around 5 per cent of cases are are more likely to be women.

• The incompetent stalker: This type of stalker is usually socially incompetent, chauvinistic or a misogynist who believe they are entitled to a relationship with a woman. Although often short-term, stalking is characterised by awkward pleadings or aggressive demands.

• The resentful stalker: Unlike other types, these stalkers behave deliberately to frighten their victim. It is often motivated by a desire for revenge.

The stalker targets the person who has hurt them directly – or a representative of that group or person – for instance, a boss, a woman or a certain ethnic minority. This accounts for a minority of cases and is often rooted in the workplace.

• The predatory stalker: This is the least common and most dangerous type of stalker – the category that sex offenders fall into.

They follow their victims, observe their behaviour and gather information in order to plan a real attack. They are exclusively men and stalk victims for a feeling of power, control and sexual excitement.

What to do if you are being stalked

 If you think you are being stalked, there are many options available to you. Taking some simple measures should make you feel more physically and emotionally able to deal with the situation.

 If you intend to go to the police, you’ll need to provide evidence. Make sure you keep a diary of every incident, tape any phone calls and if you can, take photographs or video your stalker.

 If you fear you are bring stalked tighten up security at home, in transit and at work. Change the locks to your home and install a burglar alarm. Ask a male friend to record an answering machine message on your home phone line.

When walking home alone, vary your route. If you are being harassed at work, ask a colleague to answer your phone for you. Always be wary about giving out personal details when dealing with credit card services, internet chat rooms and people you meet.

 Finally, there are many support groups offering emotional help. Speaking to a qualified counsellor can make you feel more empowered and increase your level of confidence when dealing with a stalker.