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Bus Driver Wears Stab-Proof Vest Every Day for Fear of Obsessed Female Passenger

The term “stalker” first came into use in the 20th century, to describe the harassment of celebrities by obsessed strangers. The problem continues to this day, with public figures such as Queen Elizabeth II and Miley Cyrus suffering from stalking campaigns from captivated individuals. These stalkers are generally mentally unstable, yet highly resourceful.

With these high profile cases, the victims can take comfort in the fact that they have dedicated security who will work tirelessly to protect them from these volatile obsessives. But what if you’re just a normal person who becomes the target of a manic stalking?

Photo: BBC video screengrab

Imre Marton was working as a bus driver in Oxfordshire, England when he first encountered his stalker; Charlie Howells would travel on Imre’s bus routes for hours at a time. After months of this behavior, she finally approached him while he was sitting, eating lunch. Imre recalls that Charlie appeared to be incredibly nervous, to the point that she was visibly shaking. Charlie anxiously explained how much she liked Imre and asked him out. Imre politely responded that he wasn’t looking for a relationship, as he already had a girlfriend. Much to his surprise, Charlie immediately burst into tears. “She started to cry, like when you see a child in a sweet shop. I’ve never seen an adult cry that way,” Imre recalled recently.

This disturbing incident was only the beginning of Imre’s troubles. After being rejected, Charlie’s stalking escalated significantly. She memorized Imre’s work schedule and followed him constantly. “Everywhere I went she was there,” said Imre. “She was always a couple of steps behind. It was really creepy.”

Imre took measures to avoid Charlie, but it was no use; despite talking to his employer and changing his bus route, she was still able to track him down. Not only did Charlie discover this new route, but she also unearthed his social media accounts, and even managed to figure out his home address. All of this put an immense amount of pressure on Imre. His relationship with his girlfriend broke down and he lived in fear as Charlie’s behavior became more and more sinister.

Photo: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

On one occasion, Charlie showed up on Imre’s doorstep, and on another, she threatened to slit his throat. This prompted him to purchase a stab-proof vest, which he continues to wear to this day. Despite Charlie’s actions becoming more ominous by the day, Imre had trouble getting people to take him seriously. When he initially reported Charlie to the police, a smiling policewoman simply asked: “what’s the crime here?”, as if he should be flattered by her behavior. When Charlie finally received a formal warning from the police, it just made things worse. The Police Information Notice provided to her contained Imre’s full name, which enabled her to significantly escalate her stalking campaign.

After some time, Imre was able to convince the police to take the situation seriously. Charlie is currently serving a 3-year prison sentence for repeatedly violating a restraining order. This prison sentence, however, offers Imre little comfort: “It just gives her more time to plan what she is going to do next – and that terrifies me.”

Imre’s life has been turned upside-down by this ordeal; not only has the experience wreaked havoc on his personal life, but it has also left him almost bankrupt. He estimates that since his trouble with Charlie began, he has lost roughly £10,000 per year due to changing jobs, missing shifts, and avoiding working overtime.

 

Imre’s situation is not particularly unique—it is estimated that around 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will experience some form of stalking in their lifetimes. It is clear that something more needs to be done to protect people in this position. Prison sentences do not seem to be an adequate solution, as they are typically fairly short, and for the truly obsessed, they are no real deterrent.

Howells continues to stalk Marton from prison. Last year, after he revealed that he was wearing a stab-proof vest every day, she texted him: “Well now Charlie knows where not to stab you… You thought your life was in danger then, there are many people out to get you now. I’d watch my back if I was you, you have been warned!!!!”

“I never feel safe. I know she won’t stop and this is never going to end. I am living in fear, always looking over my shoulder,” Imre Marton told Sunday Mirror. “I am sure that one day she will kill me. It’s the end goal for her. Her mission is for us to die together.”

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