Isobel Frodsham, PA
Fri, 15 July 2022 at 5:55 pm
A woman who stalked chart star Craig David left him feeling “violated” in his own home, a court has heard.
Tanya Jeal, 31, turned up at the pop star’s home and a hotel where he was staying, and sent a letter to his family and messaged his friends on social media.
She was handed a stalking protection order on Friday banning her from contacting the musician for five years.
During a hearing at Bromley Magistrates’ Court, Jeal, of Orpington in Kent, admitted contacting and pursuing Mr David but said she was just an “innocent fan”.
In a witness impact statement read to the court by Flora Curtis, a barrister representing the Metropolitan Police, Mr David said the incident “left me feeling violated in my own home”.
“I want to be able to walk down the street without having to look over my shoulder,” he wrote.
Ms Curtis said the pair met during an album signing at HMV in 2016 where the singer briefly spoke to Jeal before taking a photograph with her.
She said their next interaction was later that year when Mr David was staying at Sofitel near Heathrow Airport. The pair took another photograph together before she was escorted off the premises by his security.
Jeal contended that the interaction took place in 2017.
In his statement, Mr David said he could tell she was an “overexcited fan” and took a picture with her at the hotel in a bid to prevent her from contacting him again.
The court heard that Jeal sent him messages on Snapchat in the years that followed, and continued to watch his Instagram stories while she was travelling in India.
She also sent a letter to Mr David’s family, apparently “warning him” that his manager was using him as a “cash cow” and “didn’t care about him”, and that she believed the singer was communicating with her through the radio.
The court heard that Jeal went to see Mr David perform in Bedford on Halloween last year.
Ms Curtis told the court: “She threw a glove on stage to get his attention. She did this as she says his favourite movie is Serendipity, where someone gives someone a glove with a note inside it.”
On November 21, Jeal turned up at his house, Ms Curtis said.
“CCTV footage shows Miss Jeal standing outside his property holding the photograph the pair took together at the Sofitel hotel,” Ms Curtis added.
She said Mr David asked his housekeeper to speak to Jeal on the intercom in a different language so she would think he was not home and then leave.
Jeal stayed there for 10 minutes before going to a pub nearby. She returned later and was arrested.
The Metropolitan Police obtained an interim stalking protection order (SPO) in December, banning her from contacting the star for a year.
Jeal, who represented herself through the hearing, told the court the interactions “did happen but it didn’t happen in accordance of what he said”.
“I was just an innocent fan,” Jeal said. “Fans are generally infatuated by their idols. Any fan you speak to would say the same thing. They would do many crazy things to their idols.”
She told the court she had lost interest in Mr David after “learning about his sexuality”.
Jeal said: “I was doing some research when I saw a YouTube video, which has since been deleted, which was about me and my interaction with him. It said he was gay.
“It said that if I had turned up at his door and I was a man, he would have opened the door.”
Questioned by District Judge Sushil Kumar if Mr David was confirmed to have a girlfriend and if that would change her mind about his sexuality, Jeal said: “It would be a cover-up.”
District Judge Kumar found her behaviour had amounted to acts associated with stalking.
He said: “Miss Jeal was on occasion an unreliable witness in interpreting events, such as Mr David’s civility and kindness to be something more than that.
“I am, therefore, satisfied Miss Jeal attempted on repeated occasions to contact Mr David, both directly and indirectly.
“I have no doubt at all that she has undertaken acts associated of stalking, but not on a regular basis.”
He added that Jeal stating that she would no longer contact Mr David after making a “presumption about his sexuality” was not something he could rely on her to stick to.
He imposed a full civil SPO against Jeal, banning her from being able to contact Mr David directly, indirectly or through third parties.
She is also banned from contacting his parents directly or indirectly, must “knowingly” keep 100 metres distance from him and is not allowed to go to any show or concert on a day where Mr David is performing.
The order remains in place for five years.