A stalker who bombarded a celebrity DJ and ex-Big Brother star with bizarre gifts – causing a bomb scare – has been jailed for two months.
Kate Lawler – the first female contestant to win the reality TV show – went on to become a TV and radio personality and now has a show on Preston-based Rock FM.
Ikram Ismail, 33, of Frenchwood Street, Preston, had never met the 34-year-old personality but started leaving strange, Islamic-themed gifts at the studio on St Paul’s Square, in Deepdale, Preston Magistrates’ Court heard.
On the first occasion, in February 2014, the bomb squad was called to a suspicious box, which was later found to contain a Koran, wrapped in traditional fabric.
Among the other strange ‘gifts’ Ismail, who pleaded guilty to stalking, left in the studio grounds over the next 12 months were:
• A book entitled the Ninety-Nine Names of Allah
• A burnt Koran
• A burnt jumper
• A box containing Muslim leaflets, a ‘Kate’ keyring, chocolates and a clock
• Safety pins scattered around
• A soup cookbook
• A parcel containing a ‘love’ fridge magnet and chocolates.
Suzy Privett, prosecuting, described how on Halloween last year, DJ Jordan North saw the defendant trying to get into a party, believing Kate Lawler was there. A PCSO later attended and found Ismail, and the 33-year-old had an acceptable behaviour contract imposed on him.
However, on Valentine’s Day this year he sent further gifts to Miss Lawler, followed by a card signed “Ikram”.
The celebrity became aware of his behaviour, and when she checked her social media accounts, she found several messages from him dating back to July 2014, the court heard.
In a victim impact statement, she said she accepted her career attracted a “certain amount of attention”, but said she was unnerved by his attention and she had a right to a private and family life.
She said the thought of bumping into him frightened her. Miss Lawler declined to comment further.
It is not the first time Miss Lawler has been stalked. While working for Kerrang! Radio in Birmingham, she was sent underwear and sinister gifts.
The Beckenham-born celebrity shot to fame after winning Big Brother’s third series, broadcast in 2002.
She later became a DJ on Capital FM and co-presented a breakfast TV show. She has also taken part in game shows and done modelling work.
Ismail, who admitted stalking, was also ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge by District Judge Jane Goodwin.