Catfish pretended to be me and flirt with my dads pals – it ruined my life

A woman whose life was made "hell" by a twisted stalker who bombarded her with messages and even pretended to be her online has bravely spoken out on her torment.

Brave Lia, 23, told of the three-year "hell" she endured while getting bombarded with messages from Matthew Hardy, 30, who created several fake accounts.

Lia told the BBC: "People think it's only just a few messages, but it is not… it is hell."

"He does not stop. If you don't reply, he will inundate you. If you block the account, he just makes another one."

Hardy even made fake accounts posing as Lia herself, causing chaos as he messaged her dad's friends with flirtatious messages.

Hardy even messaged Lia's neighbour on her wedding day, claiming that she was having an affair with her husband.

She added: "The amount of trouble that he has caused me… ruined my life for three years."

Hardy pleaded guilty at Chester Crown Court of three counts of stalking with intent to cause alarm or distress and two counts of stalking without intent to cause alarm, Manchester Evening News reports.

The Cheshire native has been jailed for nine years. He also admitted breaching a restraining order from 2013 that saw him banned from using false details on social networking sites.

Hardy also stalked a 42-year old probation officer named Jill who was initially worried she was being followed by someone from her work and reported the messages to the police.

Jill said that the worst part of the ordeal was not knowing the motive of the stalker and she was so terrified that she slept with a baseball bat next to her bed.

She feared that the catfish would come to her house and would keep one hand on her phone and another on the baseball bat.

Following the sentencing, Police Constable Kevin Anderson from Northwich Local Policing Unit, said: "The impact on those affected by his actions has been immense, causing some of them to change some of their daily habits, and live in constant fear that they were being watched."

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