true crime

Alexandra's stalker moved countries to find her and planned to kidnap her. Police just laughed.

Warning: this post contains distressing content.

As a travel influencer with thousands of followers, being contacted by strangers is familiar territory for Alexandra Saper. 

She’s had her fair share of trolls too, though not too many. Nothing a quick block and delete couldn’t fix. So in 2022, when she received a "creepy" Instagram message from a man, she did what she always does: block, delete and move on. 

But the messages continued, only now the sender was directing them to her work email. Without any effective way to block the contact, the best she could do was try to ignore it. The messages were erratic. Some were rambling sentences or paragraphs, others more like rants, riddled with sexual references and descriptions of his growing obsession with her. 

Growing concerned, Saper reported the emails to Google and Instagram, but was ignored by both. Over the next few months, she received hundreds of emails from this man. A man she’d never met or spoken to. 

Watch the trailer for Netflix's Lover, Stalker, Killer. Story continues after the video.

Video via Netflix.

Over time, the messages became increasingly sexually explicit and aggressive. By the end of the year, a more sinister theme had emerged. 


"Talks of coming to Bali to find me, forcing me to be with him, quitting his job and booking a fight as soon as possible," says Saper. 

"I’m going to spend the rest of my life with you. If that included kidnapping, so be it… I’m quitting this traffic job tomorrow. I’m getting to that island as soon as I can," he wrote.

"You are never getting rid of me." 

Emails describing punishing Saper with sexual acts whether she "liked it or not".

"In one email, he attached a photo of a body stuffed inside a suitcase, saying he’d do the same to me," she says. 

"In others, he linked to a Google Drive, which I finally opened to discover dozens of videos he’d recorded of himself over the last several months, detailing even further his obsession with me, his plans to kidnap me, and the graphic sexual violence he intended to commit against me and other women while forcing me to watch."

And then, one email changed everything: he told her he’d quit his job, and was travelling from London to Bali to find her.

"I called the Indonesian and UK police, and contacted the UK and American embassies in Indonesia. I was redirected, ignored, or told to 'calm down'. 

"I was told he was probably harmless. I was told I was ‘a pretty girl’ and he was just shooting his shot, as the male officers passed around screenshots of his emails and giggled."


True to his word, the man did come to Bali, and began sending up to 20 emails a day, including photos of her neighbourhood. 

"He was looking for me. So I disguised myself when I left my house. Worried he could still find my home, I checked into a hotel. Eventually, the fear became overwhelming, and I started having panic attacks." She moved to a friend’s house. Eventually, she stopped going out altogether. 

"But I couldn’t hide forever. So after exhausting all obvious legal avenues, it was time for me to use the last tool at my disposal: my voice."

Saper released a video to her Instagram account. 

"I want to break my silence… I’ve been targeted by a deranged, delusional stalker who has flown across the world from his home in London, to Bali, threatening to find me, kidnap me, rape me, shove me in a suitcase, tie me up in his Bali villa, rape other women while forcing me to watch out of punishment for not reciprocating or obeying or responding to him."

The video went viral, amassing more than 750,000 views, and tens of thousands of shares, likes, and comments. Hundreds of victim-survivors from around the world reached out to Saper to share their stories. Stories of being stalked, with no support from authorities, no support from anyone. 

"The advice these victims received? Hide. Run. Get a new job. Move to a new city. Get a boyfriend. Get a dog. Learn self-defence. Anything other than accountability for perpetrators and those who enable their behaviour."


This is a common theme, both here in Australia and around the world. Stalking, especially cyberstalking, is not taken seriously, with the onus placed firmly on victims to protect themselves.  

"People still joke about it or romanticise it. But stalkers steal lives and take lives," says criminal behavioural analyst, Laura Richards. "It needs to be seen as the serious crime it is. It’s psychological terrorism."

In Australia, there are no dedicated support services for victims of stalking as a standalone crime. No helplines. No charities. Nothing. 

In the UK, Richards lobbied for a National Stalking Helpline, leading to the establishment of the region’s first one in 2010. She then successfully campaigned to change stalking laws, subsequently raising funds to set up the first high-risk specialist stalking service in the world for high-risk victims, Paladin.

"Someone in Australia needs to do the same," says Richards. "Sadly governments don’t do these things on their own. Advocates, survivors, and campaigners - noticeably mostly women, have to constantly fight for services to keep them safe."

Not alone. 

Stalking is a crime that affects one in five Australian women and one in 13 men. Despite its frequency, and the fact that it's illegal, attitudes remain overwhelmingly dismissive, both by the public and the police.

'Stalking is romantic', 'victims are to blame', and 'stalking isn’t serious', are some of the most common underlying attitudes towards stalking. When it comes to cyberstalking, attitudes are even more blase. Victims are told to simply 'log off', however, research shows this doesn’t work. 


In fact, deleting your social media may serve to anger the stalker, who is already heavily invested in their target, potentially prompting them to pursue their victims in real life. 

Experts believe many cyberstalkers are likely to be simultaneously stalking their victims online and in person — only their victims don’t know it.

"Most stalking cases have online and in real life stalking behaviour," says Richards. 

"It’s no comfort to stalking victims, but most stalkers want to get up close and personal at some point. Stalking is about fixation and obsession and it is very intrusive."

When Sally* was out at a bar for a mums’ night out, she came across a man named Jack*. There wasn’t any flirting, but Jack was in the same industry as Sally was trying to get into so the pair got talking. 

They exchanged numbers but the first message Jack sent had nothing to do with their common interest. Instead, it was sexually charged, and was the first of many. 

"He then started texting every night, sometimes five or six times late into the night. It went on for weeks." 

He would write messages claiming to have seen her at strip clubs engaging in sex acts. Other times he would sound angry, asking Sally why she’d ignored him. He would call incessantly, but Sally never answered. 


"My anxiety was through the roof. Even walking the children to and from school every day - past that bar - was nerve-racking. I looked for him everywhere, convinced he was lurking around every corner. Going in and out the front door of the house was scary too, thinking he was lying in wait somewhere or had followed me and knew where I lived."

When she reported the contact to the police, they weren’t dismissive, but they told her there wasn’t much they could do. 

"Apparently until he actually harms me their hands were tied. All they could suggest was a restraining order. They knew exactly who he was."

For Sally, the victim-blaming extended to her own husband, who questioned what she had done to encourage the man’s behaviour. What had she been wearing? Had she flirted with him? Given him the wrong idea somehow?

"I went over it many times in my mind trying to work out what I’d done wrong.

"My husband’s reaction made me feel that other people would also think it was my fault, so I was too ashamed and embarrassed to tell anyone. 

"He also belittled my fears over the stalking, he believed I was overreacting and didn’t even support or accompany me when I had to go to court for the restraining order. 

"I felt isolated and frightened and also foolish for feeling that way."


Ultimately, Sally was able to get a restraining order and discovered Jack had stalked other women in the past. 

"I did feel vindicated when the court gave him the longest length restraining order. If I didn’t have that I should imagine I would still be feeling guilty and ashamed today, nearly six years later."

Recognising stalking. 

According to stalking expert, Professor Cleo Brandt, stalking continues to be widely misunderstood.

"I have noticed that media seem to be reluctant to call stalking, stalking—it still often gets captured under the header of 'family violence', which doesn't help give it the attention it deserves as a separate phenomenon."

At the heart of the problem is a lack of knowledge, awareness and also understanding of the impacts that stalking, and in particular cyberstalking, has. 

"There's also an element of, not necessarily victim-blaming, although that too occurs, but some sort of expectation that's placed on the victim to somehow manage the stalker—'just ignore them', 'just get off social media' and more unhelpful 'advice'. 

"It takes time and effort to understand what is going on in any given situation (is it an acrimonious divorce or is it stalking? Is it one neighbour stalking the other, or two neighbours harassing each other?), and you have to be willing and able to spend the time to fully understand the pattern of behaviour before you can deal with it."

This needs to change, because the truth is, cyberstalking, like in-person stalking, can cause real damage.


“The psychological harm must never be underestimated,” says Richards. 

And with the internet such a staple part of most people’s lives, cyberstalking is simply another way for stalkers to torment their victims. 

"We are all online and many of our social interactions take place online as well as in some cases business interactions. 

"So by targeting people online through cyberstalking you can really harm them and also make it very difficult for them to protect themselves against the ongoing intrusion."

Male victims.

While around 80 per cent of stalking victims are women, and the same percentage of perpetrators are men, female to male stalking does occur.

When Matt* broke up with his partner, Jess*, she didn’t take it well. She physically attacked him, and despite Matt being a six-foot plus football player, he admits he was scared. He tried to placate her and thought he had. But then things spiralled. 

It started with a phone call. Jess was hysterical, telling Matt her mother had died. Having lost his own mum, Matt took the day off work to support her. On the way, he called her brother. Turns out, their mother hadn’t died after all. 

"Jess knows my mum had died, so she knew I would care. It was all to try and see me again."

Then the constant calls and messages started. Three times in one week, she promised to take her own life. Each time, Matt called an ambulance, just in case. 


"A week later I was having dinner with my friends … as I was getting out of my car and crossed the road, Jess was standing out the front. 

"I turned around and walked back to my car and she followed me."

When he went to bed that night, he received a message that Jess was out the front of his home. He ignored it, but she wouldn’t let up, calling over and over again.

"She stayed out there for hours calling me over 100 times. She actually ordered Uber eats for herself on my doorstep. I found the rubbish the next morning."

The following day, Matt received a call from the police. Jess needed his help, they said. She'd been attacked. When he arrived at the police station, he could hear Jess screaming: "I just want Matt to hold me". 

The police told Matt they believed Jess was obsessed with him and recommended a restraining order. But there was a part of Matt that felt sorry for Jess, so he didn’t pursue it. The following day, she messaged him again, claiming she’d overdosed on pills. He called 000, but again, her claims turned out to be false. 

"There were a few other times Jess would wait out the front of my house demanding for me to talk to her, I never did as I was scared of her."

On one occasion, Matt came home and found items missing. Convinced she'd been in his home, he had his locks changed, then things went quiet for a while. But the peace was short-lived. 


"I started getting emails that my Instagram and Facebook and been logged into from another device. 

"Later that day I went to do food shopping and when I went to pay my bank card declined… so I look at my internet banking and see that there is a $1900 transaction to eBay."

Jess had hacked Matt’s account and had a pram sent to his house. On his birthday, she sent him a pornographic video, which he ignored. When he woke the following morning, the lower level of his home was flooded. Matt did seek police help, obtaining a restraining order, but says the process was "a shambles and she ended up getting a slap on the wrist."

"She breached a few more times, but I didn’t bother reporting it as it was a waste of time. I’m still struggling with it but am seeing a counsellor and am on medication."

The risks are real. 

According to Professor Brandt, countries such as England, the Netherlands and parts of the US are well ahead of Australia in the way stalking is managed. 

"We should adapt and adopt what we know works elsewhere and implement it here."

Because the risks are very real. And very dangerous. 

"The main risks associated with stalking are persistence—that it just keeps going and all the associated psychological, financial, social, occupational and physical impacts; the risk of violence—that the stalker could become physically violent towards the victim; and the risk of recurrence—that the stalker will move on to another victim and cause harm there too."


For Saper, it was her community that paved her way back home. Despite his continued freedom, the Bali community refused to tolerate the stalker's behavior, and Saper says he was "effectively pushed off the island". 

"Eventually, he quietly booked a flight back to the UK, hoping to sneak out of the country without notice. In March 2023, upon landing in the UK, he was arrested, his electronic devices and passport confiscated. But my relief was short-lived. Two days later, he was released on bail.

"Over a year later, he is still a free man, and I must prepare for where I’ll hide next."

Alexandra Saper and Mamamia journalist, Nicole Madigan, shared their personal stories on SBS's Insight program. You can watch it here

*names have been changed. 

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. 

Mamamia is a charity partner of RizeUp Australia, a national organisation that helps women, children and families move on after the devastation of domestic and family violence. Their mission is to deliver life-changing and practical support to these families when they need it most. If you would like to support their mission you can donate here. 

Feature image: Instagram/@thewayfaress