TV researcher, 24, forced to unmask pervert caller herself after 18 months of torment during which police ignored pleas for help
Sophie Daysh from London paid online phone company to discover caller's identity
Abdul Rafiq, 43, got her number after showing her a flat in Manchester
01:26 GMT, 21 December 2012
Detective: Sophie Daysh used her own methods to trace the caller who rang her at all hours after the police said they could not take action
She was left distressed and frightened after being plagued by a phone pest for more than 18 months.
But when Sophie Daysh turned to the police, they told her they were powerless to help because the caller had withheld his number.
Eventually the 24-year-old TV researcher turned detective herself to expose the stalker who rang her all hours of the day and night.
Yesterday, after father-of-two Abdul Rafiq, 43, was ordered to pay her compensation, Miss Daysh condemned police for failing to take action.
She said: ‘This whole affair has had a great impact on my life for all the wrong reasons.
'This has been very frightening – I have been woken up, kept awake and often left tired for work.
‘I am now very reluctant to answer calls from unknown numbers.
'I was frustrated the police were unable to help, and I just couldn’t deal with it any more. It had been happening for a long time.’
Magistrates in Manchester were told Miss Daysh began receiving the calls in May last year while she was living in London.
Initially they were mainly silent but they became malicious and sexual in content and she often heard a man groaning down the receiver.
The caller also began using her nickname – Casper – and an automated voice was used to deliver disturbing messages such as: ‘Play with me Casper.’
Married father-of-two Abdul Rafiq, 43, an office worker, had obtained Sophie Daysh's mobile phone number when he showed her around a flat in Manchester when she was househunting in the city
‘The calls would vary,’ said Miss Daysh. ‘Some would be totally silent, no matter how long I stayed on the phone.
'Other times there would be heavy breathing, which was pretty grim. I also had voicemails left with the same sorts of messages. It was really frightening.’
Worried and upset, Miss Daysh called the Metropolitan Police who told her they couldn’t help because the culprit had withheld their number.
But Matthew Siddall, prosecuting, said: ‘That was untrue. They could have done something. Miss Daysh has been done a great disservice by the Metropolitan Police.
‘The calls were malicious but became
sexual in their nature. Voicemails included groans which Miss Daysh had
said sounded like a man carrying out a sex act while on the other end of
Miss Daysh turned sleuth after
getting 25 calls, mostly silent, in just 15 minutes one day and tracked
down a company, Ambushcall, that could unmask the caller.
Miss Daysh used online company ambushcall.co.uk to unmask the nuisance caller after the Metropolitan police said they were powerless to act as the caller had withheld their number
After paying the firm 24.99, she was able to alert staff at the company when she got another nuisance call and they emailed her back with the number.
The information about the caller was then handed over to Greater Manchester Police who arrested Rafiq on suspicion of making the calls.
It emerged the office worker had got hold of her number when he had shown her around a property in Manchester when she was flat-hunting.
Rafiq, who alternates between his house in Ilford, Essex, and another in Rochdale pleaded guilty to harassment but claimed he had only made calls on a single day.
He was ordered to pay 500 compensation, complete 200 hours' unpaid work and was banned from contacting Miss Daysh under a restraining order.
He was also handed a 12-month supervised community order and ordered to pay 85 costs.
Suzanne Ludlow, defending, said Rafiq who is suspended from his job, had shown ‘regret and remorse’ for his actions.
The court was told that Rafiq’s wife is expecting their third child and he said he ‘deeply regretted any distress he caused the aggrieved party’.
Magistrate John Wood said: ‘This was a particularly nasty crime and it must have been a worrying and upsetting time for Miss Daysh.’
The Metropolitan Police declined to comment on the case.
Manchester magistrates' court heard that Miss Daysh began getting calls in May last year. She got 20 to 40 mainly silent calls during unsociable hours