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Netflix sensation Baby Reindeer’s stalker harassed my family for five years… trends now

Netflix sensation Baby Reindeer’s stalker harassed my family for five years… trends now

Something about the woman on her television screen made Laura Wray feel uneasy. The lawyer and widow of a Labor MP was relaxing at home, fascinated by the opening minutes of Netflix sensation Baby Reindeer, especially the character Martha who stalks a struggling comedian.

What was it about Martha that seemed so familiar? Maybe the raucous laugh that seemed to last just a little too long, or the way she held her handbag close to her as she shyly entered a café. Whatever it was about this curly-haired Scotsman, she reminded Laura of someone from her past. The realization came like an electric shock and Laura sank back on the couch with her mouth open.

For she knew Martha all too well, or rather the real Martha, who turned Laura’s happy life upside down more than a quarter of a century earlier with a brutal five-year campaign of intimidation. At one point the situation became so bad that Laura was forced to alert staff at her law firm in Glasgow to panic alarms.

After watching Netflix's Baby Reindeer, lawyer Laura Wray said: 'I know Martha by her real name, but my jaw dropped watching the series'

After watching Netflix’s Baby Reindeer, lawyer Laura Wray said: ‘I know Martha by her real name, but my jaw dropped watching the series’

In one scene from the drama, Martha goes from exuberance to screaming rage in the blink of an eye. “That left no doubt whatsoever: I saw her do that,” says Laura.

Baby Reindeer, which has been watched by 13 million viewers in just two weeks and topped the Netflix charts in 30 countries, is based on the real-life experience of its creator, Richard Gadd, who plays a version of himself, an aspiring strip.

One day Martha walks into the pub where he works and claims she is a great lawyer but inexplicably broke. Out of pity, he makes her a cup of tea. Thus begins the beginning of a terrifying obsession.

Soon she is emailing Gadd hundreds of times a day, showing up outside his house and harassing his family and friends.

Over a period of four and a half years, Gadd says he received 41,071 emails, 744 tweets, letters totaling 106 pages, and 350 hours of voicemail messages.

The series also references Martha’s history of stalking. Gadd’s character Donny googles her and finds a newspaper article – fictionalized for the show – with the headline: “Sick stalker targets lawyer’s deaf child.”

Gadd has insisted that Martha’s character was so well hidden in his script that the real person she was based on “wouldn’t recognize herself.” But for Laura – the “lawyer” referred to in those fake headlines – the shocking recognition of the woman who had terrorized her family, including her severely disabled son Frankie, was almost instantaneous.

It also didn’t take long for internet sleuths to discover the real Martha and target her with abuse online.

Speaking to The Mail yesterday, the woman – whose identity we have chosen not to reveal – claimed the Netflix show amounted to ‘bullying an older woman on television for fame and fortune’ and that she had received ‘death threats’ of Gadd’s supporters. . The comedian, she said, was now “using Baby Reindeer to stalk me.”

But although ‘Martha’ wants to portray herself as a victim, for Laura this is a bit ironic.

If anything, Laura’s nightmare overshadowed Gadd’s. At one point ‘Martha’ made a death threat against her husband, Jimmy Wray, then MP for Glasgow Baillieston.

But the final straw came in 2002 when the woman falsely accused the couple of abusing Frankie, then almost four years old, who had been born with a rare chromosomal disorder. “I know Martha by her real name but my jaw dropped when I watched the series,” said Laura, who spoke exclusively to The Mail on Sunday about her ordeal for the first time

‘It brought back so many things I had forgotten. She did the same to me and made my life a nightmare. He (Gadd) has her right on target. His reaction was exactly the same as mine. I felt sorry for her. Everyone she has encountered and bullied the life out of her has felt the same way, it seems.”

The real ‘Martha’, now 58, comes from a middle-class family who lived in a village near Stirling.

A law graduate, she first came into contact with Laura in October 1997, when Laura was persuaded to give her a two-week trial period at her company. “She told me a very unhappy story about how she had no support from her family, how she got her law degree and was looking for an internship, but no one would give it to her,” says Laura.

‘I had my reservations. She was terribly honest and told me all these very personal things. Before we even met, she sent me a postcard congratulating me on my engagement to Jimmy. But actually I felt it

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