Atomic Kitten star’s fear after being stalked on Twitter

Robin Duke INLM20-220
Robin Duke INLM20-220

A Lurgan man who made threats on Twitter to rape a member of Atomic Kitten said he felt a documentary by her was “hard to watch”.

Liz McClarnon told a Channel 5 documentary she had to go to counselling after Robin Duke threatened to rape her.

Duke from Transa Way was convicted in January this year of harassing Liz McClarnon and five other women.

The 32-year-old star said she suffered from severe anxiety after Duke, 34, posted a torrent of abusive tweets.

He also targeted five female Atomic Kitten fans before being caught and given a restraining order.

Now McClarnon says the sick harassing she suffered - which included graphic sexual messages - made her feel dirty and ashamed, even though she was the innocent victim.

She said: “A lot of people I spoke to said they felt ashamed by it, as if they’d brought it on themselves. I think you feel a bit dirty and you don’t want to tell anyone in case they think it’s about getting attention.

“At first he’d message and say things like, you’ve got nice legs’ and I’d say ‘thanks very much.’ Then from being on that level, it suddenly escalated really steeply. It became really sexual with him telling me what he couldn’t wait to do to me. I think what’s happened in the past couple of weeks is that really strong women have stood up and said, ‘I’m not having this’ and that’s brought it out into the open.”

Masterchef winner Liz was so shocked to hear other people’s Twitter abuse stories she agreed to make a TV programme recounting her own torment. My Cyberstalking Hell was broadcast on Channel 5 on Monday, a project Liz admits she was terrified to take on.

The Whole Again singer added: “Even though I really wanted to highlight what’s happening, I was still scared. I was in bits all the time, but I wanted to have that closure, and in the end I did feel a sense of satisfaction that I’d done it.”

Duke was an Atomic Kitten fan and had met Liz and persuaded her to pose for a photo with him.

Speaking from outside his own counselling session which he was ordered to attend as part of his sentencing, Duke told the Mail: “The show made me feel so sorry for all my victims and if I could go back in time and not send any messages I would. I just hope all my victims are doing ok now and it hasn’t affected them in the long term.”

Duke pleaded guilty to harassing McClarnon and five others. He was handed six restraining orders, banning him from contacting them. He was sentenced to three years probation and a community sex offences programme, and told to do drug and alcohol counselling.