POLICE and prosecutors must do more to take stalkers off the streets before they commit more serious crimes, the Government's second most senior legal officer has said. 

Solicitor General Robert Buckland’s comments come after stalker Michael Lane was handed a life sentence for murdering ex-girlfriend Shana Grice.

Speaking exclusively to The Argus about the case, the criminal barrister and MP said: “Increasingly the police and the CPS are working to deal with the offending before it escalates.

“But I always want to see more prosecutions.

“Stalking is a crime that leads on to other crimes like sexual offences, rape and murder. Far too many cases are like that [of Shana Grice].

“The message has to go out, stalking must be taken with the utmost seriousness. It’s no joke. This is a reflection of the risk it poses to victims and society. That is why the Government legislated to strengthen sentences.

“We are taking stalking seriously.”

Mr Buckland took a close personal interest in the topic for many years. He was one of a group of backbench MPs who campaigned heavily for stalking sentences to be introduced as part of the Government’s plan to tackle violence against women and girls.

As a result the top jail term for stalking is being doubled from five to ten years.

But he agrees more needs to be done to see cases prosecuted in the first place and wants police and prosecutors to continue their work in supporting victims so they get the help they need.

His words came as stalking charities said police and prosecutors should try harder to convict offenders and The Argus revealed all stalking and harassment cases handled by Sussex Police will be investigated in the wake of the killing.

Lane, 27, of Thornhill Rise, Portslade, slit 19-year-old’s Miss Grice’s throat in her bedroom in Chrisdory Road, Portslade, on August 25 last year.

He would not accept the demise of her relationship after she rekindled a romance with her former long-term boyfriend Ashley Cooke.

Officers were told about Lane’s stalking on five occasions in almost as many months before she died. They took no further action after three reports and even fined her for wasting police time.

Some 12 Sussex Police staff are being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne also ordered a separate inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to be carried out later this year to look more generally at how the force deals with stalking and harassment cases.

Ms Bourne said she wants to see Sussex Police’s attitude towards stalking cases “improve dramatically”.

That is why she has ordered an inspection later this year and she hopes this will take into account improvements that have been made. 

The force faced criticism from stalking charities this week who said more needed to be done to support victims and prosecute offenders. 

Detective Superintendent Jason Tingley said reports are always taken seriously but added: “We accept we can always do more to ensure we fully train all frontline staff to understand the impact on victims and the use of the relevant legislation to better protect them.”


STALKING escalates and often leads to other crimes such as rape and murder which means it must be treated with the “utmost seriousness” and prosecuted, the Solicitor General said.

The trial of Michael Lane heard a list of incidents where he pursued his victim Shana Grice in the months before killing her.

He was arrested and cautioned on one occasion and warned to stay away from her but after three incidents no further action was taken.

She reported him first on February 8 last year for slashing her and her boyfriend’s tyres.

On March 24 Lane pulled her hair and tried to grab her phone.

On July 8 he stole a back door key to her house and crept in to watch her sleeping the next morning. The following day he bombarded her with prank calls.

Two days later Lane followed her while she was driving in her car. Around three weeks later he was spotted near her home.

During this period he left notes for her boyfriend and sent her a letter demanding money.

On August 25 he took a knife from the kitchen and slit her throat before disconnecting the fire alarm and dousing the room in petrol while she lay lifeless inside.