Louise Minchin says victims of online abuse ‘are not alone or powerless'
Louise Minchin has said victims of online abuse are not alone or powerless as she revealed it was “truly blood chilling” for her and her family to be threatened by a stalker last year.
Mrs Minchin said she was choosing to speak out about the experience to help other victims cope.
“The reason I am choosing to do so is to send a clear message to anyone who has been a victim of similar abuse that they are not alone, they are not powerless, and those trolls who send violent threatening messages can be identified, can be caught and can be sent to prison,” she told The Daily Telegraph.
In December, ex-soldier Carl Davies, 44, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for the harassment of Mrs Minchin and her family. Mr Davies sent threats to both Mrs Minchin’s and her teenage daughter Mia’s social media accounts in July 2020.
The messages included graphic threats and information that showed Mr Davies knew where the family lived and had visited the location.
“I am so careful about my personal life. I never say exactly where I live, very rarely post pictures of the girls or say anything overly identifying in interviews or on air,” Mrs Minchin told the paper.
“Suddenly, here was this stranger who knew things you could never have got from just Googling me. The details he had about where I live were chilling, he could have only known them if he had been stood right outside my house.”
Mrs Minchin and her family were on holiday when the messages were received. She said her daughter Mia “desperately didn’t want to go home” and once they arrived back the family felt like prisoners in their own home for weeks.
The police investigation lasted for nine months before Mr Davies was charged.
Mrs Minchin also said she was “wracked with guilt” and “hated that my profile meant Mia was having to go through all this”. She said she considered leaving her job at BBC Breakfast but her daughters told her not to “let him win”.
“It’s thanks to them that I didn’t just quit that week,” she told the paper.
Mrs Minchin said “if anything good” could come from the experience it was “the clear message that perpetrators don’t always stay anonymous; they can be prosecuted”.
“Mia and I have both needed help to cope with what we’ve been through and are doing much better now, though it has left a mark,” she said.