AN ex-ITV presenter has told of her stalking hell – claiming her neighbour "terrorised" her so badly she has not been able to return home for almost a year.
Isla Traquair, 42, sobbed in court as she alleged "obsessed" Jonathan Barrett would stare through her windows, take pictures of her house and on one occasion jumped over her fence with a chainsaw.
The ex ITV News and Channel 5 News reader told Salisbury Magistrates Court, Wilts., how "weird" Barrett shocked her soon after she moved in by climbing over a wall into her garden and entering her house to offer her a sandwich.
It was also alleged he would stand outside and stare directly into the bedroom window of her idyllic country cottage, on the edge of the Cotswolds.
Magistrates heard 53-year-old Barrett "terrorised" Ms Traquair between March and September 2021, beginning as soon as she moved into the house near the small Wiltshire town of Corsham.
Alicia Doble, prosecuting, told the court: "She is a journalist, a relatively well known journalist, and it seems when she moved in Mr Barrett took an interest in her and in her life.
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"He admits to looking her up when she moved in and seemed to know facts about her she didn't tell him.
"Over the coming months he became obsessed with her. He would loiter outside her house, look through windows, stand on her wall and look into her conservatory."
Ms Traquair bought the house in January 2021 and moved in in March that year.
That same month, she was in the middle of renovating the house when Barrett jumped the wall separating their back gardens.
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She said: "I was doing renovations so I didn't lock the doors necessarily. He came in my property and said 'You haven't eaten today have you? I have some salmon, I'll make you a sandwich'."
When she moved in, Ms Traquair said her bathroom wasn't working so she would wash in the sink, but Barrett would stand in his own garden and watch her.
She told the court: "I washed my face and was about to take my clothes off so I could wash my underarms and John was standing directly outside my conservatory facing me. I saw him and got a real fright.
"This was deeply disturbing, I immediately ducked down.
"Regardless of whether or not I had my clothes on, he shouldn't be standing there staring into my property at 7am."
The court heard Ms Traquair also filmed Barrett peering through her window into her lounge where she was sitting for 40 minutes in April.
She said: "This was not the first time it happened. I eventually put a blind to block the entire window.
I washed my face and was about to take my clothes off so I could wash my underarms and John was standing directly outside my conservatory facing me. I saw him and got a real fright. This was deeply disturbing, I immediately ducked down.
"It got to the point where I would just go to another part of the house."
In June Ms Traquair put up bamboo screening to shield her conservatory from Barrett's garden, but later that day she returned home to find a bush on her property had been "chainsawed" and was left "all jagged".
Police spoke to Barrett later that month but Ms Traquair told the court this did not stop him and he continued looking into her house.
She had a fence and security cameras put up after this, on the advice of police, but Barrett kept "interrupting" and "intimidating" the workers putting them up by staring at them.
The journalist said she captured footage of him later that month standing at his van and staring into her bedroom window.
Ms Traquair told the court: "This happened an unmentionable number of times – pretty much every day.
"I can clearly see he is looking down towards my bedroom. If I had my blinds open, which I obviously didn't, he could see someone on my bed."
In July, Ms Traquair said she even noticed Barrett following her in his van while she was driving home.
In an effort to avoid arriving at the same time so she would not have to speak to him, she instead drove to a nearby farm shop but said Barrett followed her.
She said she waited in the car park for several minutes but Barrett also stayed in his car.
When she started her car up again she said he "shot off" straight away.
Barrett was arrested and released by police but three days later, security camera footage showed Barrett walking around the front of her home in his dressing gown and taking pictures, the court heard.
The "last straw" came in September.
Ms Traquair said: "It was the evening, it was dark and I became aware of banging noises upstairs on the exterior wall so I don't know if a ladder was involved.
"This was really quite traumatic… There had been stones thrown at my bedroom window at night before as well.
"This man had been terrorising me… I was scared. I phoned my friend, her husband came to pick me up and I just left.
"That was the last time I stayed in my house."
She said she has had "nightmares" and "panic attacks" as a result of Barrett's actions, adding they have affected her relationships and left her terrified to leaver the house for fear of seeing Barrett.
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Barrett, who lives in a £380,000 one bed semi-detached home next to Ms Traquair's in the village of Kingsdown, denies one charge of stalking.
The trial continues.
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