Chef’s stalker is arrested

A woman who stalked a celebrity TV chef was arrested at her Arlesey home and hauled before magistrates last week. Dawn Connell, 44, was detained at her home in Ramerick Gardens after an incident at the home of chef Steven Saunders in Ashwell. She pleaded

A woman who stalked a celebrity TV chef was arrested at her Arlesey home and hauled before magistrates last week.

Dawn Connell, 44, was detained at her home in Ramerick Gardens after an incident at the home of chef Steven Saunders in Ashwell.

She pleaded guilty to harassment at Cambridge Magistrates' Court.

Mr Saunders, owner of the award-winning Sheene Mill restaurant in Melbourn near Royston, called police after Connell tried to push her way into his home. Connell refused to leave the grounds of his home and continued banging on the door saying she wanted to talk to the chef. She finally left the property and got in her car and drove off.


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Magistrates heard it was the last straw for Mr Saunders who had been plagued by Connell for years, even believing she once gained entry to his barn conversion house through the dog flap to leave him a love note and flowers. Connell disputed this and also disputed an allegation that she had posed as Mr Saunders' sister to be given access to his home and mobile phone numbers.

The court heard that Connell first met Mr Saunders 15 years ago at a gym and made advances towards him.

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Mr Saunders, who was married at the time, spurned all the advances and moved to another gym only to be followed by Connell. He has since made further moves to other gyms to try and prevent any contact with her.

She bombarded him with declarations of love in text messages. It is claimed Connell sent 70 text messages in one night and more than 1,000 messages in all as well as pestering him in the early hours with further calls.

"This has been a complete invasion of Mr Saunders' privacy and it is affecting his life," said Mr Brown.

"His view is he has tolerated the harassment for a long time and enough is enough. It is affecting his life, not to mention his work."

Connell was granted bail on condition she does not go to the chef's home or Sheene Mill restaurant. She will appear before magistrates again on April 19.

Magistrates also ordered a Newton hearing, where a person has pleaded guilty but the alleged facts are in dispute. These will be discussed and a ruling given over what is deemed the truth, at which Mr Saunders will have to give evidence.

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