Monday, August 27, 2007

The Crime of Linking

Both Philip Dawdy and Aubrey Blumsohn (and others) have described the tale of Dr. Rita Pal, who committed the apparently serious offense of linking to a document on her website, lost her job (coincidence?) and is being further investigated by the General Medical Council. The linked document was the transcript of the case of Lisa Blakemore Brown, a British psychologist who was accused of misconduct. Feel free to read my tirade about the ludicrousness of how Blakemore Brown has been persecuted (1, 2).

The real killer here is that Pal's fitness to practice medicine is being questioned because she linked to a document that had not a thing to do with patient confidentiality and is entirely unrelated to Pal's fitness to practice medicine. Perhaps someone can explain how linking to a document makes one unfit to practice medicine...

Oh, did I mention that Dr. Pal has a blog where she frequently criticizes the British National Health Service? What a great way to silence a critic -- trump up a patently ridiculously charge in an attempt to crush her career.

Please read Dawdy's and Blumsohn's posts to get the whole story.

Update: A reader has posted a comment challenging the veracity of this story. I'm quite interested in seeing other comments on this topic as well...


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Anonymous said...

October 2005

The complaint was brought by a mother whose chld was diagnosed with ADHD and LBB failed to liaise properly.

Transcipts dated June 2006 - in pubilc domain.

Anonymous said...

Transcripts are of hearings and court cases.

Meetings are very different to hearings and court cases and believe me one hell of a lot more friendly.

Now why should you be asking for disclosure of all 1000 pages. In what arena will these be required? If you plan to take her to court, what for exactly?

Anonymous said...

What a surprise - resounding silence from the Mellor camp on the LIE that Mellor took rap for Blakemore-Brown when she went to prison for abducting a child.

Please prove yourselves credible - post the Appeal to show us that it was Lisa Blakemore-Brown who abducted the child. This is a very serious allegation to make.

Perhaps readers can contact the Court and Judge Whitburn to ascertain when/if this Appeal went in.

Can we also see the 'restraining order' that Mellor publicly claimed she had to get out because of the apparent daily abuse from Blakemore-Brown (but she could not provide ONE example to the BPS)?

The same restraining order that she told the BPS she DIDN'T get out - she went to them instead.

To recap:


1. The Appeal lodged apparently by Bill Bache against the Mellor criminal conviction proving that Blakemore-Brown was the guilty party and of course the result of the Appeal.

2. The Restraining order from Mellor's solicitor Bill Bache - that he was never able to provide when directly asked for it.

Of course the BPS have known all about all this - but ignored it and stuck with the Mellor complaint. It never was struck out, even though the BPS were advised to do so by their own David Lindsay, so that is yet another lie from the Mellor camp.

The Scribe said...

"The important issue here is that both LBB and RP have broken patient confidentiality and the rules of the Family Court and is an offence"

Really? If you excuse us both - there has never been a finding regarding the above. These statements are more than likely to influence a fair trial for any of us. Indeed, there is case law related to the GMC where statements of this sort fell foul of Article 6 rights. Just for avoidance of doubt a court order could easy get the IP addresses of these posters. There is no such thing as anonymity on the internet.

I reiterate the postings above


1. The Appeal lodged apparently by Bill Bache against the Mellor criminal conviction proving that Blakemore-Brown was the guilty party and of course the result of the Appeal.

2. The Restraining order from Mellor's solicitor Bill Bache - that he was never able to provide when directly asked for it.

So, lets all see the documentation Ms Mellor of Covern. This together with all the questions raised by Mr Billy Seggars in the other thread.

Rita Pal

The Scribe said...

Questions Raised by blogger Billy Seggars. I have just cut and pasted this. Ms Mellor has failed to answer all these questions since January 2007.

1 - How many complaints have you made to the GMC in the past 10 years?

2 - How many individual doctors have you complained about?

3 - How many of those complaints were upheld?

4 - How many other professionals have you complained about? Please break down your answer by profession, eg 4 nurses, 3 social workers etc.

5 - How many of those complaints were upheld?

6 - What is your view on Querulous paranoia.

7 - Have you obtained any formal qualifications in medicine, or law? If so, when, and from what University?

8 - What is your connection with the Church of Scientology, and are you a Scientologist?

9 - If you are not, why did the Church of Scientology present you with an award?

10 - Are you now having, or have you ever had, an affair with John Hemming MP?

11 - On how many occasions in your posts to the MAMA forum or elsewhere have you referred to Wikipedia in support of your arguments?

12 - Do you approve of the comment quoted at the top of this post, and do you support Brian Morgan's actions in posting it to Dr Pal's blog?

13 - Would you urge him to post more, similar, comments to her blog, or would you urge him to keep such vile fantasy to himself in future?

Rita Pal

The Scribe said...

Errrrrm I am dropping a pin.

Lisa Blakemore Brown will tell me if she can hear it :).

Rita Pal

Anonymous said...

Yes come on Mellor. The evidence on the restraining order. The one you took out after 18 months of daily emails and verbal abuse? Or was it 12 months you never could make up your mind could you? I have emails saying both.I have one email saying you took out a restraining email and one saying you went to Governing Body because a restraining order would give her a criminal record.

Show us one abusive email sent from Lisa to you. You said they were too terrible to show to the BPS but come on we are grown ups here, trust us we can cope. You told me the were really awful. We wish to see one.

As you went to her Body to save her a criminal record why are you trying so hard now?

You are such a kind person aren't you first going to prison for her then saving her from a criminal record by going to the BPS? The only reason you went to the BPS Penny is because you have no emails. The only emails you have are Fiona's and a few of *** ****'s. You have no proof on either her being party to child abduction or her being abusive? Its all talk a load of hot air.

So how many complaints Penny have you made against professionals?

10, 15, 100, 200 how many Penny?

The Scribe said...

So and there we have it.

I nearly fell off my chair reading the above.

I would quite like a response from Ms Penny Mellor, housewife, high profile campaigner, smoker, ex prisoner and the media's darling. We want to know how many O Levels or CSE's you have. Afterall, you criticise all of us for our qualifications, lets see what you have got?

As the scientologists helped you strike of psychiatrists, how many were struck off Penny? Let us know.

It is amazing the media believes all the rubbish you sprout constantly to them.

The Guardian UK newspapers have refused to allow us to cite that Ms Penny Mellor is a complainant in the Rita Pal and Blakemore Brown cases.

Penny always talks of the truth - accuses the rest of us of lying. Let her now speak the truth and be open and transparent about what she has done to professionals in the UK.

Rita Pal

Anonymous said...

I hear she was a social worker once many moons ago. Tell us about it Penny.

She said on MAMA she was giving up the MSBP work and concentrating more on her other work. Would that be devoting more time to getting good solid professionals sacked or struck off? You know like Lisa and Rita. Or was to devote more time to your religion?

The Scribe said...

Is Scientology a religion? :)

Scientology War on Psychiatry

This is what she said in her emails

"I don't know how you feel about the scientologists, they don't believe in drugging children, and get some bad press, however they are very keen to help any parent with autistic children who has been labelled, no strings attached, they have helped me get loads of MSbP psychs struck off... something to think about it can be done at your discretion but they do have alot of resources, doctors etc who help falsely accused parents"

and on the 5th June 2005 she said
"Here's the scientologists email address you want to talk to Brian Daniels and he'll do whatever he can to help you"

So, there is a wider reason why two of us who work in the field of psychology/Psychiatry. In my case "worked" in the field of psychiatry, are being hounded by one Penny Mellor. Only someone like Mellor with scientology affiliations would conclude the bizarre assertions she has strewn on the internet and the GMC.

So Scientologists - what have you all got to say now. I am not impressed with this issue and neither am I impressed with this war on psychiatry/psychiatrists.

Of course, lets face facts, not one person who was my patient has ever complained.

Dr Rita Pal

Anonymous said...

Taken from this link

Hubbard quotes on psychiatry and psychology


It has been alleged that Scientology doctrine requires that psychiatrists and psychologists must be destroyed. With this page I would like to make the case that it is highly likely that indeed Scientology has that as primary target. After all if Scientology's aim is a world "without criminals", and they regard psychiatrists and psychologists to be terrorists and the very cause of all crime, equally reprehensible as Hitler and Stalin, then what would they do with them to achieve that aim?

The founder of Scientololgy/Dianetics, L. Ron Hubbard, had the answer: "get rid of the psychs!"

Very likely I would say.

Notice the wording 'get rid of the psychs'

Its all part of the Scientology Doctrine.

Just an opinion of course Dr Pal but given the wording in those emails you sited, it's certainly food for thought.

The Scribe said...


So a group I have never had any animosity towards, have now categorically declared war on shrinks.
A scientologist, an poster and a Mellor associate. The mere mention of Ms Mellor made him run off from an interview with me. The question is why would he email me?

It is all about connections isn't it. It is all about Mellor, Gomez and a few scientology helpers. How quaint.

Gomez of course, the mysterious little msbp helper who disappeared out of the GMC.

Rita Pal

Anonymous said...

It has been alleged that Scientology doctrine requires that psychiatrists and psychologists must be destroyed.

And Mellor, who made unsustainable complaints about at least one of each, got an award from Scientologists.

Coincidence? Could be, but I'd lay a penny to a pervy journo that it isn't.

Incidentally, where are the MAMA muppets today?

Billy Seggars.

Anonymous said...

The muppets have won. They do not need to fight anymore. You have scored own goal after own goal.

Anonymous said...

We need:

Proof that Blakemore-Brown colluded to abduct a child - as alleged by Mellor

Proof that Sharon Payne ever had cancer

Proof that Christine Wilson did not get duped by Payne into giving her money from her Charity because she believed she had cancer

Proof that Bognor Police were not called in to investigate when Payne took documents from Blakemore-Brown's home after she was duped into believing she had terminal cancer - when Blakemore-Brown had been suffering from cancer and the ongoing treatment.

Proof that Mellor took out a restraining order on Blakemore-Brown

Come demand this sort of thing - now we do too.

This is just the beginning.

As with everything else, the British Psychological Society were fully informed but chose to fail to protect a Psychologist from this, instead to accuse her of being paranoid for even mentioning it without even checking it's veracity.

Anonymous said...

The muppets have won. They do not need to fight anymore. You have scored own goal after own goal.

Hmmm, let's see. They make baseless complaints against a whole bunch of professionals.

They stalk them around the net like a pack of vicious animals (but without the same degree of intelligence), posting flawed and even untrue allegations wherever they go.

They post obscene comments on their victim's blog.

Then, when folks see through their insinuations, incorrect assertions and illogical conclusions and start asking uncomfortable questions, the said muppets run like rabbits.

The only way the word "won" could ever be applied to that sort of behaviour is in the negative sense, as in didn't win anything. They fled the field in ignominious disarray, and no amount of spin or insinuation can change that.

Meanwhile, since you're here, there's a whole bunch of questions for you to answer. We await your wise and insightful response with eager anticipation.

Billy Seggars

Anonymous said...

Penny Mellor is deluded

Two years ago I received this

From :
Sent : 03 October 2005 08:15:41
To :
Subject : Re: What I think

Well as I was unaware of the previous complaint, then you can't associate me with it, sorry but this is barking mad, I have nothing whatsoever to do with anything relating to vac damage or for that matter anything else claimed in that article, there isn't a conspiracy and if they really really had wanted to get Lisa then I'm afraid they already had her in my criminal case, emails from her to the family encouraging her to grab the children and run, clearly the authorities didn't perceive her as any threat at all otherwise she would have been included into the conspiracy charge, they had far more on Lisa than they did on others that were charged. Doesn't add up I'm afraid. Lisa is not the threat she thinks she is and there isn't a conspiracy. Penny

Then I received this

From :
Sent : 03 October 2005 10:41:25
To : xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject : Re: What I think

As my case is going back to appeal, we'll see who conned who shall we.

And then this

From :
Sent : 03 October 2005 13:24:55
To : xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject : Re: What I think

wrong again, my criminal case is being appealed by my co-defendants as part of their case, nothing to do with me and that has ONLY just happened in the last two weeks. No conspiracy, however the entire email content will be made public in court to prove they targetted certain individuals with less evidence than they had on others. There is NO conspiracy against Lisa.

Only this year this went up on MAMA

Penny Mellor

Joined: 05 Mar 2005
Posts: 4199
Location: Staffs UK
Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:34 am Post subject:


It doesn't matter who wrote the article it still has to be verified by lawyers and the fact is Wakefield "destroyed/lost" data relating to this research-so how come it's OK for him to do it and yet isn't when it's Meadow and Southall-you can't have it both ways and Wakefield and LBB do not represent all parents I'm afraid-alleged MMR damage is only a minute part of false allegations and doesn't feature at all in many cases.

I fail to see why you have to make personal attacks on me just because I disagree with you and I have no intention of revealing on a public forum what it is I know about the LBB case-you should just leave her out of this, after all the hearing is going to be heard in private and isn't for public discussion-however what I do know to be a fact is that it has nothing to do with campaigning-the police in Northumbria had emails from LBB which involved her in the alleged "conspiracy to abduct"-if it was about silencing people then they could have silenced her then-they didn't and that's because a) she is not deemed a threat and b) because they had bigger fish to fry.

Research fraud is research fraud.
my tel contact and email:

01902 791935 -

This was when she was trying to destroy Wakefield.

Then this went up
Penny Mellor

Joined: 05 Mar 2005
Posts: 4199
Location: Staffs UK
Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 7:49 pm Post subject:


As for abduction, conspiricy or anything else I can assure you it would not be the BPS that would be investigating her it would be the police.

OK I'll explain it yet again-IF as you claim there is a conspiracy to "get" LBB because she is outspoken they had the opportunity when we were all arrested-the police and Southall had copies of the emails that LBB sent to my codefendants-then there were the telephone calls (which I was actually convicted on not the content just the numbers) she wasn't deemed to be a "threat" to anyone so they didn't touch her....What witch hunt-what conspiracy?
my tel contact and email:

01902 791935 -

Back to top

So I guess she is still trying. She cannot blame LBB for her prison sentence but she is still trying. I think she posted some other of this on MAMA but I wont waste my time looking, I think this just about proves it.

Penny if Lisa had been part of all this then she would have been arrested and gone to court with the rest of you. If the police had all these emails why didnt she?? She seemed to write loads of emails about a,b,c but you have so much trouble showing them. I put to you that is because they dont exist do they?

The Scribe said...

I am completely speechless. I believe even gobsmacked is the right word. I was eating my rice krispies this morning and I nearly choked when I read the above emails from Ms Mellor.

Time to write a piece on NHS about this. I never knew about the above. Please do outline more inconsistencies in Ms Mellor's assertions.

Ms Mellor, what have you to say to all this? I would be grateful if you could respond.

In the meantime, I am repeating the questions that have not been answered.

1 - How many complaints have you made to the GMC in the past 10 years?

2 - How many individual doctors have you complained about?

3 - How many of those complaints were upheld?

4 - How many other professionals have you complained about? Please break down your answer by profession, eg 4 nurses, 3 social workers etc.

5 - How many of those complaints were upheld?

6 - What is your view on Querulous paranoia.

7 - Have you obtained any formal qualifications in medicine, or law? If so, when, and from what University?

8 - What is your connection with the Church of Scientology, and are you a Scientologist?

9 - If you are not, why did the Church of Scientology present you with an award?

10 - Are you now having, or have you ever had, an affair with John Hemming MP?

11 - On how many occasions in your posts to the MAMA forum or elsewhere have you referred to Wikipedia in support of your arguments?

12 - Do you approve of the comment quoted at the top of this post, and do you support Brian Morgan's actions in posting it to Dr Pal's blog?

13 - Would you urge him to post more, similar, comments to her blog, or would you urge him to keep such vile fantasy to himself in future?

Rita Pal

Paul Heathcote said...

Billy Seggers said:

"Incidentally, where are the MAMA muppets today?"

Nice to know you were concerned but I'm back now. I had a little bit of business to take care of yesterday with a couple of lads from the gym. Had my David Bailey hat on and my box brownie in hand ;) :).
Lady Penelope - everything went ok:) Tried to call you, will email you when I've had my bacon butty.

Anonymous said...

OK haven't had the e-mail yet, so my Parker has turned into Columbo has he?

Can I be Miss Piggy if I am a muppet? Do you want to be Kermit?

The other two can be those old guys who used to sit in the balcony heckling can't they, pretty much fits the profile.

Have you noticed how James Landon and Bill Seggars write in exactly the same language, oooooh cyber MPD?

Paul Heathcote said...

James Landon/Billy Seggars doesn't live in a 'Little House on the Prairie':) Neither does RP;)

You can be Miss Piggy and I'll be Kermit. Lloyd can be Animal - afterall he's big enough to chase bears out of woods!

Anonymous said...

I'll have Lloyd, he can stand outside my front door any day :) where's my e-mail, please do tell all.

Anonymous said...

Posting private e-mails breaches copyright laws.

Anonymous said...

You have NO EMAILS thats why you dont post them. As for emails I put up, not full emails, no headers and footers or who they are to on them. Only problem is Penny Mellor, is that you know they are real dont you?

So come on then do me for copyright.I can show a few of other peoples emails you sent me if I felt like it but dont worry I wont because that is unfair to them and there is a time and place.

You see everyone, Penny Mellor makes a big thing about people sending other peoples emails on but she does it over and over.

Anonymous said...

Dr Pal how much time have you got I have plenty of inconsistances but have you got the time?

Anonymous said...

One of us telephoned Newcastle Court this morning. It has now been confirmed that Penny Mellor LOST her Appeal in 2002.That was the year she was sentenced.It was after that that she began blaming Lisa Blakemore-Brown. There has been NO FURTHER APPEALS!

Anonymous said...

Newcastle Crown Court have today confirmed that there is NO Appeal pending for Penelope Mellor following her conviction of child abduction in March 2002. She did Appeal immediately after that judgment but lost the Appeal.

So much for all the slander and libel of Blakemore-Brown and 'the truth will out'.

Yes it does usually doesn't it - and its starting to right now.

Anonymous said...

Penny Mellor has been sending libelous emails to various people trying to lose Lisa Blakemore-Brown work and stop potential clients from using her professional expertise.

Well Penny it seems on this occasion at least part of your email was true

''As my case is going back to appeal, we'll see who conned who shall we. ''

We have all seen exactly who is conning who haven't we?

Anonymous said...

This just shows how little you know about the law doesn't it - you can't get an appeal through the Crown Courts, the appeal is not via Mrs Mellor.

Anonymous said...

PS we can all make phone calls about people Dr Pal, keep digging.

Anonymous said...

Appeal Number 20020233122 at the Courts of Appeal . LOST.

No new Appeals pending re the Penny Mellor conviction of abducting a child.

Any other Appeals about the Alexander family - co defendants - are irrelevant to the point being made here - that Mellor has claimed to third parties and on the MAMA board that she took the rap for Blakemore-Brown because Blakemore-Brown had cancer, and that she would be going to Appeal when the truth would be out.

That is a very serious allegation and libellous and a shocking way to treat someone suffering from cancer.

Even the Alexander family could not believe it when she wrote that. Ask them. Make the call.

The Scribe said...

Now thats news.

Could someone email me the order and judgment. This would be a nice feature on NHS Exposed.

Lets think about permutations of titles

1. Mellor Loses in Court
2. Appeal Lost by Mellor
3. Mellor loses all complaints and loses in Court.
4. Wicked Conspirator Fails Appeal
5. Housewife loses Appeal
6. Weblink Complainant - No Success in Court.
7. LOST - Penny Mellor Does it Again.

By the way Ms Mellor - just to let you into a secret - three webmasters have worked on NHS Exposed :).

Rita Pal

Paul Heathcote said...

Say cheese.

The Scribe said...

Pattern of conduct of Ms Mellor. Can anyone verify that this is accurate

1.Unverified statements made to all and sundry - whether it is the media or various friends and colleagues
2. Repeated complaints made to regulatory bodies when Ms Mellor feels she is being threatened.
3. Foul and disgusting messages sent through blogs by her counterparts.
4. Anyone who challenges her must in her view be brought down.
5. bans anyone who wishes to rebutt libellous statements while working with Mellor.
6. Cases referred from to her team of lawyers or requested to contact scientologists.

I knew someone else like this once. I believe it was Dr Adoko :)

Rita Pal

Anonymous said...


Well, there are always similarities between you and a rat. Can't think what they are at the present time but I believe someone would be able to outline it.

Anonymous said...

My phone calls are completed.

Asta la vista babies and thanks for the show.

Anonymous said...

This pattern of conduct appears criminal to me. Perhaps a call should be made to Singer and Whitburn.

Anonymous said...

"I've got a pretty open comment policy (obviously), but if we're going to post comments, let's make them something other than name calling."

Not the place for this then?

The Scribe said...

Lisa - lets have a intellectual discussion on personality disorders. Lets discuss the paper below. What do you make of it?

The way you make me feel: personality disorders and the impact of therapist counter-transference

Patients with different types of personality disorders evoke different positive and negative counter-transference reactions among the psychotherapists they consult, according to this Norwegian study. Further, the emotions evoked in therapists have a significant impact on treatment course and outcome, suggesting that counter-transference reactions could be applied as an important tool in therapy.


This article is one of the few studies to examine the counter-transference reactions among psychotherapists evoked by patients with different clusters of personality disorders (PDs). The authors compared the reactions evoked by cluster A + B PDs (patients with eccentric and dramatic behaviour) with cluster C PDs (patients with anxious or inhibited behaviour), and also aimed to study the relationship between the different counter-transference reactions and the outcome of therapy.

In general, the definitions of counter-transference reactions emphasize the emotions evoked in therapists when they are working with patients. These reactions play an important role in the patient-doctor relationship, and recognizing these feelings can help the therapists to better understand their patients’ problems. This additional information could be very useful in cases involving problematic patients in need of long-term care - borderline patients, for example [1. Berkowitz M. Know your borderline: countertransference as a diagnostic tool. Psychother Theory Res Pract. 1983;4:405-7.(close)].

According to the results, the patients with cluster A + B PDs evoked more negative and less positive counter-transference reactions than patients with cluster C PDs. The counter-transference reactions were also more variable towards patients with A + B PDs, than towards those with cluster C PDs. The reason for this could be that these types of patients - mainly borderline patients - can "split" their therapists into “all good” or “all bad” categories, evoking various feelings in them [2. McCready K. Milieu countertransference in treatment of borderline patients, Psychotherapy. 1987;24:720-8.(close)],[3. Gallop R. The patient is splitting. Everyone knows and nothing changes. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 1985;23:6-10.(close)].

Patients who dropped out of the therapy evoked more negative reactions. It must therefore be considered that negative feelings on the part of the therapist may unconsciously influence a patient’s compliance. There was also a strong correlation between positive reactions and the degree of improvement.

The results suggest that therapists can apply counter-transference reactions as an important clinical tool in therapy. The personality of doctors - as a curative factor in the patient-doctor relationship - plays a more important role than therapists might expect. It is consequently worth considering the organization of a case-report meeting for clinical teams. The sharing of experiences could help to improve the compliance of patients and the relationship between patients and their care team, which could be crucial to the outcome of the therapy.


This study examined the extent to which patients with cluster A + B personality disorders (PDs) evoked other counter-transference reactions among psychotherapists compared with patients with cluster C PDs, as well as the relationship between the different counter-transference reactions and outcome.

A total of 11 therapists at the Department for Personality Psychiatry, Ullevaal University Hospital, Oslo, Norway, filled out the Feeling Word Checklist-58 (FWC-58), 2 weeks after admission and 2 weeks before discharge, in relation to 71 patients admitted to the day treatment programme. The patients were diagnosed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II Disorders (SCID-II).

The study revealed that patients with cluster A + B PDs evoked more negative and less positive counter-transference reactions than those with cluster C PDs. The psychotherapists varied significantly more in their reported counter-transference reactions towards patients with cluster A + B PDs than toward those with cluster C PDs. Patients who dropped out of treatment evoked significantly more negative counter-transference reactions after 2 weeks than patients who completed the treatment. In addition, the study revealed strong correlations between counter-transference feelings and change during the treatment.

The authors concluded that this empirical study confirms clinical narratives on specified relationships between counter-transference reactions, different PDs, and treatment course.


1. Berkowitz M. Know your borderline: countertransference as a diagnostic tool. Psychother Theory Res Pract. 1983;4:405-7.
2. McCready K. Milieu countertransference in treatment of borderline patients, Psychotherapy. 1987;24:720-8.
3. Gallop R. The patient is splitting. Everyone knows and nothing changes. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 1985;23:6-10.

Author Commentary
Dr S. Sümeg

Dept of Psychiatry
7633 Pécs

- Thought we could have some good debates around personality disorders.

Dr Rita Pal

The Scribe said...

I like Wikipaedia, probably because most people understand it. I am also fascinated by this

Histrionic personality disorder
• Learn more about citing Wikipedia •From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Histrionic personality disorder
Classification & external resources ICD-10 F60.4
ICD-9 301.50
Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking, including an excessive need for approval and inappropriate seductiveness, usually beginning in early adulthood.

The essential feature of the histrionic personality disorder is a pervasive and excessive pattern of emotionality and attention-seeking behavior. These individuals are lively, dramatic, enthusiastic, and flirtatious. They may be inappropriately sexually provocative, express strong emotions with an impressionistic style, and be easily influenced by others.

The literature differentiates HPD according to gender. Women with HPD are described as self-centered, self-indulgent, and intensely dependent on others. They are emotionally labile and cling to others in the context of immature relationships. Females with HPD over identify with others; they project their own unrealistic, fantasied intentions onto people with whom they are involved. They are emotionally shallow and have difficulty understanding others or themselves in any depth. Selection of marital or sexual partners is often highly inappropriate. Pathology increases with the level of intimacy in relationships. Women with HPD may show inappropriate and intense anger. They may engage in manipulative suicide threats as one aspect of general manipulative interpersonal behavior. [1]

Males with HPD usually present with identity diffusion, disturbed relationships, and lack of impulse control. They have antisocial tendencies and are inclined to exploit physical symptoms. These men are emotionally immature, dramatic, and shallow. [2] Both men and women with HPD engage in disinhibited behavior. [3]

People with this disorder are usually able to function at a high level and can be successful socially and at work. However, histrionic personality disorder may affect a person's social or romantic relationships or their ability to cope with losses or failures. People with this disorder may seek treatment for depression when romantic relationships end, although this is by no means a feature exclusive to this disorder. They often fail to see their own situation realistically, instead tending to dramatize and exaggerate. Responsibility for failure or disappointment is usually blamed on others. They may go through frequent job changes, as they become easily bored and have trouble dealing with frustration. Because they tend to crave novelty and excitement, they may place themselves in risky situations. All of these factors may lead to greater risk of developing depression.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines histrionic personality disorder as a pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention
interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior
displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self
has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances
considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are

Any thoughts on discussing the above?

Rita Pal

The Scribe said...

An interest of mine is cyberstalking. I was probably the first person to obtain an injunction against cyberstalking in the UK ( Adoko v Pal). Since then it has interested me a great deal. It interests me even today given I have had a cyberstalker on I also managed to create a profile for him given his repeated disgusting postings. He knows who he is and I do. Nevertheless, This paper is the most interesting of them all. Some of the behaviour can be found in any internet community.

Happy reading.

An exploration of predatory behaviour in cyberspace: Towards a typology of cyberstalkers by Leroy McFarlane and Paul Bocij

Over the last few years governments, law enforcement agencies, and the media have noted increases of online harassment. Although there has been a great deal of research into 'offline stalking', at this moment in time there has been no formal research that attempts to classify cyberstalkers. This study aimed to identify a classification of cyberstalkers by interviewing victims. Twenty-four participants were interviewed and their responses logged on a 76-item Cyberstalking Incident Checklist. A typology of cyberstalkers was developed.



The effects of stalking upon its victims have been well documented. Months or even years of continuous exposure to unwanted attention and/or threats often lead victims to change their daily habits, and even cause psychological trauma. Fremouw et al. (1997), in their study of 600 psychology undergraduates, found that some of the victims were willing to disrupt their normal routines in order to avoid their stalker. Some were even willing to carry pepper spray, a knife, or even a gun. Pathé and Mullen (1997) found in their investigation that over 75 percent of the victims reported feelings of powerlessness and a quarter of their respondents admitted that they had seriously considered or actually attempted suicide. A study by Sheridan et al. (2001), which involved a survey of 95 stalking victims in the U.K. found that 59 percent of respondents reported feeling frightened, and 44 percent altered their behaviour as a result of being stalked.

Despite more than a decade of research into stalking there is still no clear definition of this phenomenon. Meloy and Gothard have defined it as "an abnormal or long term pattern of threat or harassment directed toward a specific individual" [1]. Pathé and Mullen have described it as "a constellation of behaviours in which one individual inflicts on another repeated unwanted intrusions and communications" [2]. These behaviours include "... following, loitering nearby, maintaining surveillance and making approaches ... [via] letter, the telephone, electronic mail, graffiti or notes attached for example, to the victim’s car" [3]. Westrup proposed it as "one or more of a constellation of behaviours that (a) are directly repeatedly towards a specific individual (the target), (b) are experienced by the target as unwelcome and intrusive, and (c) are reported to trigger fear or concern in the target" [4].

With the development of information and communications technology (ICT), we are observing a new kind of harassment — cyberstalking. To differentiate between these two activities stalking will be termed as offline stalking. A number of individuals have pursued the idea that cyberstalking is simply a natural extension of stalking (Ogilvie, 2000; Petherick, 2001; Burgess and Baker, 2002). However, Bocij and McFarlane (2002) disagree with this view. A more comprehensive discussion is presented in their paper, but in short, they state that some definitions of stalkers assume that the stalker has mental health issues since his pursuit of a victim is described as "obsessional". However, they have described other motivations that occur for cyberstalking, including when organisations pursue an individual, group or organisation for profit or for competitive advantage. They also ask the question that if cyberstalking is nothing more than an extension of offline stalking, how can the fact that be explained that many cyberstalkers only ever harass their victims via the Internet? For example, an American court placed a restraining order on Mr. Kevin Massey who was harassing Robert Maynard, CEO of Internet America, and his wife and co-founder, Teresa Maynard (D’Amico, 1997).

The authors also put forward the fact that in all the classifications concerning offline stalking (for example, Zona et al., 1993; Mullen et al., 1999; Sheridan et al. [5], 2001), many perpetrators tend to focus their obsession on one victim at a time, due the time and energies needed for the surveillance of their target. These typologies, (as well as other offline classifications), do not explain the case study that was presented by Bocij et al. (forthcoming) where the cyberstalker harassed a number of victims online. If the view that cyberstalking is a natural extension of stalking is to be maintained then these points (and others presented in the paper) need to addressed.

A few definitions of cyberstalking have been volunteered in order to explain the phenomenon. Petherick (2001) put forward the explanation that cyberstalking, "... which is simply an extension of the physical form of stalking, is where the electronic mediums such as the Internet are used to pursue, harass or contact another in an unsolicited fashion." Deirmenjian (1999) offered the definition of cyberstalking as "... harassment on the Internet using various modes of transmission such as electronic mail (e-mail), chat rooms, newsgroups, mail exploders, and the World Wide Web."

Bocij and McFarlane (2002) have attempted to put forward a more comprehensive definition:

"A group of behaviours in which an individual, group of individuals or organisation uses information technology to harass one or more individuals. Such behaviour may include, but are not limited to, the transmission of threats and false accusations, identity theft, data theft, damage to data or equipment, computer monitoring and the solicitation of minors for sexual purposes. Harassment is defined as a course of action that a reasonable person, in possession of the same information, would think causes another reasonable person to suffer emotional distress."
The dramatic increase in cyberstalking is not based on any formal crime survey, but on the attentions of the media that has spurred the activities of other bodies. Firstly, the situation of cyberstalking so concerned the United States government that the Vice President (Al Gore), commissioned a report from the Attorney General in 1999, with recommendations on how to protect all citizens (National Institute of Justice, 1999). Secondly, law enforcement agencies have begun taking these complaints more seriously. In the U.K., the first author has been informed that the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), have expanded their operations in order to investigate cases of cyberstalking. In the U.S. the FBI have referred an increasing number of cases to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for court action. Finally, a number of victim support groups have noted the increase of cyberstalking. Employees at the National Center for Victims of Crime in the United States who receive numerous phone calls about different crimes ranging from theft to murder have reported a large increase in the incidences of cyberstalking (Techtv, 2001). In 2000, Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA), an online safety organisation based in the United States, reported that they received on average of 100 victim reports a week.

To help provide some information concerning the number of cyberstalking incidents, WHOA collected demographic data from victims who reported their cases of cyberstalking to them. When the figures of 2000 and 2001 are averaged they revealed that 14.45 percent of men and 83.58 percent of women were harassed online (1.97 percent of the respondents did not clarify their gender). Concerning the age of victims, 30.54 percent of respondents were between the ages of 18-30, 16.58 percent were between the ages of 31-40 and 6.90 percent stated that they were 41 and over (45.98 percent did not divulge their age). When looking at race overwhelmingly the victims were white (57.47 percent). The next largest ethnic group that reported incidents of cyberstalking was Asians — 1.97 percent. African American victims accounted for 0.82 percent, Hispanic 1.81 percent, Native American 1.15 percent, Other 0.82 percent (WHOA, 2002). The data gathered here is not representative, but it provides an insight into a phenomenon that is under-researched. There is a clear need for formal investigation into the number of cyberstalking incidents that take place each year.

Some formal research has been conducted into the area of cyberstalking. Spitzberg and Hoobler (2002) interviewed 235 university students as to their experiences of cyberstalking and found that 59 percent of respondents felt that they had been cyberstalked, of which 19.6 percent felt threatened or were in fear for their personal safety. Burgess and Baker (2002) conducted a study of offline and online stalking with 656 participants from an East coast university, finding that 11 percent had been harassed. The majority of complainants were female (61 percent) and ages ranged from 17 to 42, with 55 percent aged 20 or younger.

A number of typologies concerning stalking have been proposed. Zona et al., (1993) compiled the first analysis of criminal stalking from 74 cases investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Threat Management Unit. Working their classification tightly around the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Zona et al., stated that there were three kinds of stalkers — erotomanics, love obsessionals and simple obsessionals. Erotomanics have the delusional belief that the target of interest, usually of higher status, is in love with the stalker. Cases involving love obsessionals are characterised by the absence of an existing relationship between the stalker and the victim (usually celebrities), yet the stalker has a fanatical love towards the subject. These stalkers tend to suffer from schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, or some other psychiatric illness. The final group is the simple obsessional, where the stalker is usually an ex-partner of the victim and may wish to rekindle the relationship or may harass the victim for revenge.

Harmon et al. (1995) advanced their own typology after they reviewed the case files of perpetrators who had been referred to the Forensic Psychiatry Clinic of the Criminal and Supreme Courts of New York. They delineated stalkers on two axes: Using the nature of the attachment between victim and stalker (classified as affectionate/amorous or persecutory/angry), and the nature of the prior relationship between stalker and victim (i.e. personal, professional, employment, media, acquaintance, none and unknown). It was noted that amorous/affectionate harassers usually suffered from erotomanic features, and that the majority of stalkers of ex-intimates had narcissistic and paranoid personality traits. Persecutory/angry harassers not only stalked individuals but also large institutions who had wronged them (real or imagined) (Mullen et al., 2000).

Kienlen et al. (1997) examined the records of 25 individuals who were charged with offences related to stalking. At that time these individuals were undergoing psychiatric evaluations on behalf of the courts. They proffered a classification which divided stalkers into psychotic (with symptoms that ranged from schizophrenia, delusional disorder with erotomanic features, bipolar disorder) and non-psychotic (with disorders that ranged from mood disorder, alcohol and drug abuse, and personality disorder).

Wright et al. (1996) advanced another classification. Their system was developed from crime scene and common forensic findings, stalking cases, anecdotal reviews, newspaper accounts of stalking, as well as interviews with victims of stalkers. Their categorisation related to the:

nature of the relationship between the victim and stalker (domestic or nondomestic);
the content of the communications (nondelusional or delusional);
the level of risk to the victim in terms of aggression (low, medium, high);
the motive of the stalker (infatuation, possession, anger/retaliation, other); and,
the outcome of the case for the stalker (legal, suicide, psychiatric, other).
A multi-axial typology was developed by Mullen et al. (1999) who assessed convicted stalkers in an Australian mental health unit. The axes included an examination of the stalkers’ predominant motivation and the context in which stalking occurred, information about the nature of the prior relationship with the victim, and finally, a psychiatric diagnosis. They classified five types of stalkers:

The rejected stalker has had an intimate relationship with the victim (although occasionally the victim may be a family member or close friend), and views the termination of the relationship as unacceptable. Their behaviour is characterised by a mixture of revenge and desire for reconciliation.

Intimacy seekers attempt to bring to fruition a relationship with a person who has engaged their desires, and who they may also mistakenly perceive reciprocates that affection.

Incompetent suitors tend to seek to develop relationships but they fail to abide by social rules governing courtship. They are usually intellectually limited and/or socially incompetent.

Resentful stalkers harass their victims with the specific intention of causing fear and apprehension out of a desire for retribution for some actual or supposed injury or humiliation.

Predatory stalkers who stalk for information gathering purposes or fantasy rehearsal in preparation for a sexual attack.

To date, there have been no studies into the classification of cyberstalkers [6]. Although Petherick (2001) simply used the offline stalker typology advanced by Zona et al. (1993), and applied it to cyberstalking. This study aims to investigate whether the typologies of offline stalking discussed can be applied to cyberstalking.

This qualitative study used a semi-structured questionnaire. The questionnaire used was a modified version of the Stalking Incident Checklist generated by Wright et al. (1996). This modified version was enhanced for the purposes of incorporating items concerning ICT within its structure. The original Stalking Incident Checklist is a five section, 46-item interview questionnaire that was generated to create a stalker typology. It was developed via research concerning victimology, crime scene findings, crime scene indicators, investigative considerations, search warrant suggestions, common forensic findings, and interviews with victims of stalkers (Wright et al., 1996). For the purpose of the study cyberstalking was defined on terms similar to the Protection from Harassment Act (1997) used across England and Wales, i.e. two or more courses of conduct that leads to the harassment of another.

In addition the computer program Copernic was employed to search the Internet for 50 cases of cyberstalking. These cases were analysed and the methods of harassment via ICT were utilised to formulate the modified version of the Checklist. The finalised Cyberstalking Incident Checklist contained an additional thirty items to form a 76-item interview questionnaire. The fifth section of the original stalking checklist was not used, as it was felt that this would bias the results in favour of the original study. In each of the sections space was incorporated to allow to participants to volunteer additional information.

The Cyberstalking Incident Checklist has four main sections. The first section examines the background information of the victim and the perpetrator. The background data to be obtained here are the respondent’s initials (to ensure confidentiality), age, sex, ethnicity, employment status, marital status, residential status, highest qualification obtained, local/national visibility, and a subjective rating of victim’s and perpetrator’s computer literacy (1=low, 2=fairly low, 3=medium, 4=fairly high, 5=high). The victim was also asked to provide background details about their cyberstalker, i.e. history of assaultive behaviour, psychiatric history, criminal record, and history of victimisation, but only if these details were known.

The second section scrutinised the number of cyberstalking incidents and length of online harassment. It also obtained the first and last means of contact via ICT; e-mail, network access, Web pages/guestbooks, personal chat services (for example ICQ, MSN messenger), chat rooms, Web discussion groups (for example Usenet, bulletin boards), electronic dating sites, and Internet games sites. If offline stalking occurred then, in keeping with the Stalking Incident Checklist, the victim was asked about the first and last incidents of offline stalking. Behaviours of offline stalking to be selected included place of employment, their residence, outside, indications of theft, indications of surveillance, unauthorised entry to the victim’s residence by offender, following the victim in a car. In both the ICT and offline stalking part of this section, the participant was asked if the cyberstalker had tried to discredit the them to others or had tried to gain more information about them through others. The third investigated the level of aggression in the first and last incidents of cyberstalking and offline stalking.

Section four (again similar to the Stalking Incident Checklist) recorded the type of contact (i.e. by ICT, telephone, in person or written). The style and content of communication of cyberstalking incidents and offline stalking incidents was also noted. These included: computer viruses, attempted insertion/insertion of Trojans [7], spamming [8], mailbombing [9], identity theft [10], use of multimedia and/or the use of photographs, videos and audiotapes, hanging up/abrupt interruptions, demonstrating detailed knowledge about the victim(s), proclamations of love and/or marriage, gifts, sexual comments, threats to injure victims and/or others, carrying a weapon, threatening the use of a weapon, using a weapon, rambling conversations/writings, bizarre comments, unclear or unrelated comments, and other behaviour not covered within the checklist.

The Cyberstalking Incident Checklist was circulated to forensic and research psychologists and an ICT consultant for review. On the basis of the reviewers’ comments, the Cyberstalking Incident Checklist was revised. A sample of 24 participants who contacted the author through online and offline victim support groups was utilised for the study. All of those who were interviewed agreed to participate without incentives. The participants were from a number of different countries including the U.K., the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand. Twenty-two of the participants were female, and two were male.

The participants were interviewed with the 76-item Cyberstalking Checklist that recorded intrusive acts experienced by the participants as well as providing demographic information as to the perpetrator. Participants were also free to add additional information at the completion of each section. Some of the participants resided in different countries and due to the difficulties of international time zones had to be interviewed at a time of their convenience. The first author was the sole interviewer and the interviews were conducted either face-to-face, over the telephone, or via instant messaging.

Data analysis was conducted once all the questionnaires were completed. Both investigators met regularly to discuss the findings, to review demonstrated consistencies in patterns. Following the completion of the interviews, the investigators held additional meetings to consolidate the themes and to review the literature for corroborative information.

The steps used in data analysis in this study included data reduction during which data were selected and focused, and clarified to develop coding categories. Coding categories were refined and defined as the investigators interacted with the data. The second flow of analysis was data display. Computer files and data grids were used to organize the data, identify gaps and promote the identification of early relationships within the categories.

Conclusion and verification drawing was the third flow of data analysis activity. Field notes and memos that explored tentative meanings from the data enhanced conclusion drawing. An expert in ICT and in qualitative research methods was consulted during the process of data collection and analysis. An audit trail consisted of the research proposal with intentions, the raw data (questionnaires and computer files, coding categories with definitions, data display grids, and field notes), and memos kept by the investigator during the ongoing process of data collection and simultaneous analysis.

Summary statistics are presented in three tables. Table 1 examines intrinsic characteristics of victims and offenders, whilst Table 2 examines extrinsic characteristics of victims and offenders. Table 3 illustrates the relationship factors between the victims and perpetrators.

Table 1: Intrinsic characteristics of victims and cyberstalkers.

(N=24) Victim data Offender data

Mean age 32.0 41.0
Range Min: 14; Max: 53 Min: 18; Max: 67

Percentage age
<17 [11] 4.2 —
18-30 45.8 23.1
31-40 25.0 34.6
41+ 25.0 42.3

Percentage race
White 100.0 100.0

Percentage gender
Female 91.0 15.4
Male 9.0 84.6

Duration and nature of cyberstalking behaviour
The duration of the cyberstalking ranged from one day to five years with an average duration of 11.5 months. The case of the cyberstalking that lasted one day lead to offline stalking, comprising of several days of phone calls and physical threats to the victim. Apart from that case, the shortest period of cyberstalking lasted 17 days.

The most common method of initial ICT contact by cyberstalkers was e-mail (10 cases), followed by network access at work (six cases) and Web discussion groups, for example, Usenet or bulletin boards (six cases). Other methods of contact included electronic dating sites and chat rooms, (one case each). In 13 cases of online harassment there were also incidences of offline stalking; six victims were stalked at their homes, three at their place of employment, three in places with public access, and one victim reported incidences of surveillance (e.g. use of surveillance such as cameras, audio transmitters, etc.).

Threats and violence
Threats were made to the victim by 11 of the cyberstalkers and four cyberstalkers also threatened third parties. In all, eight cyberstalkers threatened only the victim, one threatened only the third parties, and three threatened both groups. There were no physical attacks to any of the victims but there was criminal damage to property of the two of the victims, that being their cars.

Table 2: Extrinsic characteristics of victims and offenders.

Subjects Victim data Offender data

Percentage marital status
Single 58.3 52.3
Divorced 8.3 13.0
Separated 4.2 4.3
Married 29.2 21.7
Unknown — 8.7

Percentage computer literacy
Low 12.5 —
Fairly low 20.8 4.5
Medium 29.2 41.0
Fairly high 20.8 27.3
High 16.7 22.7
Uncertain — 4.5
(N.B. This is a subjective rating)

Percentage occupation
Professional post 37.5 50.0
Clerical 20.8 4.6
Unskilled manual 4.2 4.6
Student 20.8 8.3
Retired 4.6
Unemployed 16.7 18.2
Unknown 9.7
Percentage education
Degrees 25.0 27.3
'A' level/college 50.0 22.7
GCSEs/'O' levels/high school 20.8 9.1
No formal qualifications 4.2 4.5
Unknown 36.4

Identity theft
In eight cases the perpetrator impersonated the victim online. Four were impersonated in e-mails to their family/friends/Usenet groups, three were impersonated on electronic dating sites or chatrooms, and the last victim’s credit card details were used to purchase goods over the Internet and they were mimicked in Usenet groups.

Previous history of victimisation, assaultative behaviour, psychiatric admission and criminal convictions
The victims reported that eight of the cyberstalkers were known to have previously victimized one or more other victims via ICT and four of the cyberstalkers were known to have a previous history of assaulting others (i.e. where the perpetrator was not prosecuted). Only one perpetrator was known to have had been admitted into a psychiatric institution. The victims also reported that they knew that six of the cyberstalkers had previous criminal convictions; three were for acquisitive offences, one for a breach of a probation order (which was originally for offline stalking), one for possession of an offensive weapon/firearms and one was for interpersonal violence.

Table 3: Relationships between victims and offender.

Percentage relationship
Ex-intimates 12.0
Work contacts/colleagues 12.0
Acquaintances 16.7
Professional alliance alliance (i.e. Health care providers, lawyers, teachers) 4.0
Recently/very recently met via
information and communications technology (ICT) 33.3
Total stranger 22.0

Stalking behaviour
Male-female stalking 75.0
Same-sex stalking 25.0
(50 percent male-male;
50 percent female-female)

The Cyberstalker’s Motivation
Four major themes surrounding the cyberstalking relationship emerged from the data. They were the 'vindictive', 'composed', 'collective', and 'intimate' cyberstalkers.

Vindictive cyberstalker

This group is so named due to the ferocity to which they victimise those whom they pursue. They threatened their victims more than any other group and in the majority of cases they actually stalked their target offline. A third of the perpetrators were known to have had a previous criminal record, and two-thirds were known to have victimised others before.

In half the cases the participants stated that the harassment started over a trivial debate or discussion, which blew up out of all proportion. In a third of cases there was no apparent reason and the rest of the victims commented that there was an active argument involving both parties. The victims estimated that these cyberstalkers had a medium to high level of computer literacy. The vindictive cyberstalker utilised the widest range of ICT methods to harass their target (for example, spamming, mailbombing, and identity theft) than any other group. They were also only group to use Trojans to gain access to their victim’s machines and/or infect them with viruses. Three-quarters of victims also declared that they received disturbing messages from the communications of this group, for example, bizarre comments, rambling conversations, unclear unrelated comments, intimidating multimedia images and/or sounds, for example skull and crossbones, pictures of corpses, screams, etc. These messages possibly indicated the presence of severe mental health issues.

Composed cyberstalker

The composed cyberstalker is so named because it is theorized that their actions are aimed at causing constant annoyance and irritation to their victims. These cyberstalkers were not trying to establish a relationship with the victim but wished to cause distress. These types of perpetrators generally issued threats.

On the whole, participants estimated that these cyberstalkers had a medium to high level of computer literacy. Only one of the cyberstalkers in this group was known to have a criminal record, and only one was known to have had a previous history of victimization. No members of this group was known to have had a psychiatric history, however three of the perpetrators went on to conventionally stalk their victims.

Intimate cyberstalker

This group tried to 'win' the feelings and/or gain the attention of their target. The participants estimated that the computer literacy of these cyberstalkers was of a wider range than any of the previous group — from fairly low to high. They utilised e-mail, Web discussion groups, and electronic dating sites. They also demonstrated detailed knowledge about victims.

Further examination of the behaviour associated with this group indicated that they could be split into two sub-groups: Ex-intimates who were predominantly ex-partners or ex-acquaintances of the cyberstalker, and infatuates who were individuals looking for intimate relationships. Ex-intimates presented a combination of behaviours ranging from messages aimed at restoring their relationship to threats on their former significant other or friend. For clarification purposes, these victims stated that the harassment started online. In a number of cases the ex-intimate had impersonated their ex-partner or ex-acquaintance online, and used behaviours that ranged pretending to be their ex-partner in chat-rooms to buying goods via credit card transactions. Interestingly, there were no cases of offline stalking occurring after cyberstalking.

The infatuates were all seeking to form a closer relationship with the victim. It was noted that the nature of their communication was much more intimate than the former sub-group, but when they were rebuffed their messages were more threatening. However, there was one case of an infatuate stalking a victim offline. In the final analysis, the sub-groups combined are very similar to the rejected stalker, intimacy seeker and incompetent suitor as defined by Mullen et al. (1999).

Collective cyberstalkers

This final group is characterised by two or more individuals pursuing victims via ICT. The computer literacy of the persons in this sub-group ranged from fairly high to high. The perpetrators made numerous threats and utilised spamming, mailbombing, identity theft, and intimidating multimedia to harass their victim. This group also tried to gain information about their target.

Within this group another sub-group was noted. This study witnessed what could be identified as corporate cyberstalking. Typically, an organisation would be criticised for their business dealings and would take offence. Harassment would be used to discredit the victim and/or silence the victim. In this group, identity theft was used to impersonate and discredit victims. Group cyberstalking was also observed in the study. Here two or more perpetrators perceived that they had been 'wronged' and wished to 'punish' the victim. It was not beyond this group of cyberstalkers to try and recruit others to harass the victim offline. In one case, one group of perpetrators were able to enlist other perpetrators to harass their target offline by giving them the victim’s address.

This study, by use of examining the victim’s responses via a questionnaire endeavoured to find a cyberstalking typology. The question was asked in the introduction of whether this study would reveal a cyberstalker classification that would be identical to the offline stalking categorisations discussed earlier. The findings indicate that this is not so. The results yielded four types of cyberstalker: Composed, Intimate, Collective and Vindictive. This study may be criticised due to its small sample size, however, to the authors’ knowledge this is the first study of cyberstalking which attempts to formulate a classification of such perpetrators.

Vindictive cyberstalkers are singled out for particular concern because the victims reported that in some cases there was no reason for their harassment and that this type of cyberstalker would continue to pursue them offline. This concern is heightened because the victims believed that this type of cyberstalker had particular mental health problems, for example, e-mail and attachments were of particularly aggressive and sadistic content. This group’s use of ICT in was found to be sophisticated. Viruses would be used to infect machines, identity theft was common and even the use of Trojans (which generally requires a relatively good level of computer literacy). It is theorised here that these cyberstalkers may have some medium to severe mental health issues, for example, a diagnosable personality disorder.

It is difficult to draw a comparison with the composed cyberstalker — there is simply nothing comparable in the literature dealing with offline stalking. The major question here is why would an individual engage in cyberstalking? One possibility may be that because of the anonymous nature of the Internet they are disinhibited in their communication and in their actions. Why not use more vicious methods to attack their victims, e.g. Trojans or viruses? Perhaps they would perceive that using such methods would be 'overkill'. This kind of cyberstalker needs to be further researched.

Similarly, collective cyberstalking has no comparison in the offline stalking arena. What is usually seen offline is one stalker — one victim, but here we see the pursuit of one or more individuals by two or more others. Corporate cyberstalking seems to be principally aimed at gathering intelligence about their target in order to discredit and harass them. They will use conventional means (for example telephone directories or the electoral role) and ICT means (for example, which is an electronic telephone directory). However, they may also possibly resort to illegal means to harass the victim (e.g. impersonation and fraud). Group cyberstalking is an intriguing subject and requires further study; it is likely to occur from a disagreement leading to parties taking sides, (thus it may be theorised that group stalking may involve more than one victim). There is also the possibility that others may be coerced into cyberstalking or be forced into inaction because of fear of reprisals. This passive kind of group cyberstalking also needs to be investigated further.

As stated earlier, the intimate cyberstalker sub-group was very similar to the offline stalker classifications by Mullen et al. (1999). The victim’s responses indicated that the 'ex-intimates' were similar to Mullen and his colleagues’ classification of the rejected stalker (who wish to rekindle a terminated relationship). The 'infatuates' were also similar to their intimacy seeker/incompetent suitor (attempting to bring to fruition a relationship with a person who has engaged their desires, and who they may also mistakenly perceive reciprocates that affection or seek to develop relationships but they fail to abide by social rules governing courtship).

Although many people were informed about the study, only a minority took part. It should not be overlooked that this could be due to the feelings of fear, shame, embarrassment or anger that the victims may still feel during or even after the event. One victim (who later pulled out of the study) revealed at the end of her account the intense feelings that she felt, she was angry and yet extremely embarrassed about her own cyberstalking experience. Future researchers should bear in mind the possible complex and intense feelings that such an experience can generate and that may negatively influence participation in future cyberstalking studies.

Our current knowledge of cyberstalkers is very small but the authors of this study hope that it will encourage others to investigate this area. Our current knowledge of cyberstalkers is very small, but the authors of this investigation hope that it will encourage others to examine this area.

About the Authors
Leroy McFarlane is a forensic psychologist working at a prison in the East Midlands of the U.K. His employment experience also includes time spent as a university lecturer. He has also gained post-graduate qualifications in the field of criminology. His research interests include stalking and cyberstalking, risk assessment, arson and penology. He has been consulted by members of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Services on Service in the area of stalking and cyberstalking. Having conducted a substantial amount of research in this area, he has recently co-authored a number of papers dealing with harassment behaviour and the impact of cyberstalking on victims.

Paul Bocij is a former university lecturer who now works as a professional writer and consultant. As a writer, he has produced or contributed to more than twenty books, including a number of academic texts. He is one of the authors of Business Information Systems, the UK’s best-selling IS textbook, and also helped to develop an accompanying Internet course that is now used across the U.K. In addition, he is also the author of numerous articles, magazine columns, academic papers, training guides and other materials related to information systems and information technology. He is an active researcher and his research interests are largely concerned with the impact of technology on society, with a particular emphasis on deviant forms of behaviour, such as harassment. In his work as an independent consultant, he regularly advises individuals and organisations on a wide range of issues related to computer security. He has also been involved with a number of cyberstalking cases and has helped a number of people to deal with harassment perpetrated via the Internet.
Direct comments to:

The authors would like to thank Jayne Hitchcock, President of Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA), and the National Anti-Stalking and Harassment Campaign and Support Association (NASH) for their support, and all those who participated in the study.

1. Meloy and Gothard, 1995, p. 259.

2. Pathé and Mullen, 1997, p. 12.

3. Ibid.

4. Westrup, 1998, p. 276.

5. The authors acknowledge that writers such as Sheridan et al. (2001) accept the notion of a serial stalker, but none appear to have considered the possibility that a stalker may target several victims simultaneously.

6. Although Hatcher (2001) developed a typology of cyberstalkers from anecdotal complaints to the group, this does not seem to have been based on any formal academic research.

7. A Trojan horse is a program used by hackers and others to infiltrate a computer system. Many Trojans are used to monitor a computer system, periodically sending out reports that contain confidential information such as every e-mail message sent or received by the computer.

8. Spam can be described as unsolicited e-mail, often termed "junk e-mail".

9. Mailbombing involves sending a huge amount of e-mail traffic to a particular person or Web site in order to overload the target system.

10. This involves impersonating another person, usually for the purposes of harm or fraud.

11. In this case the interview was conducted by the victim’s mother.

P. Bocij and L. McFarlane, 2002. "Online harassment: Towards a definition of cyberstalking," Prison Service Journal, volume 139, pp. 31-38.

P. Bocij and L. McFarlane, 2003. "Seven fallacies about cyberstalking," to appear in the Prison Service Journal,volume 149.

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Editorial history
Paper received 24 April 2003; accepted 7 August 2003.


Copyright ©2003, First Monday

Copyright ©2003, Leroy McFarlane and Paul Bocij

An exploration of predatory behaviour in cyberspace: Towards a typology of cyberstalkers by Leroy McFarlane and Paul Bocij
First Monday, volume 8, number 9 (September 2003),

Dr Rita Pal

Anonymous said...

Spot on, that's someone to a T, absolutely amazing. The publicly documented history of hostile domain registration must add to the strength of the fit.

The Scribe said...

Of course the domain registration was just half the story. The rest of the story on the domains were completed in cases settled in my favour :). Now thats a bit of research you missed :)

Rita Pal

Stephany said...

Rita, Did you plan on posting the above cyberstalking commentary on your blog? Just curious, as to what the key points that are needing to maintain main topic here.
-linking as a crime?
-maintaining whether or not that link violated privacy laws?

Thanks, I like to keep current in the discussion and am having an impossible time digging through these comments.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I like to keep current in the discussion and am having an impossible time digging through these comments.

It's certainly gotten a little convoluted :-)

Unfortunately, that seems to be the nature of the beast. This whole thread kicked off by pointing out the hideous flaws and pitfalls in the GMC's decision to carry out an investigation into a doctor's conduct because she linked a page on her blog to a document that was already in the public domain. Under such circumstances there can be no question of violating anyone's privacy - or, if there is, it must be directed to the individual who intially published the material.

Clearly, in the case of the document linked to, the original publisher felt that publication was justified and exposed certain misdeeds that would otherwise have gone unobserved.

Back to the GMC. As I've said elsewhere, their decision is dumb, even by their standards, and could set a dangerous precedent whereby medical bloggers within the GMC's sphere of influence could effectively be prevented from linking to interesting material (and therefore prevented from blogging to some degree) lest someone, somewhere, raises a spurious complaint - as has been the case here.

That would be unacceptable, and must not be allowed. But there's far more to it than that undeniably important point.

The complaint in question is just the latest in a long line of complaints from this particular complainant, or group of complainants. Pal, Blakemore-Brown and, it seems, many others have gotten on the wrong end of complaints to their professional bodies for the "unpardonable" crime of questioning this rabid bunch of campaigners.

Now, I have nothing against campaigners and campaigning per se - much good work is done by voluntary bodies who identify a problem and work to get it fixed.

But I do take issue with using highly dubious strong-arm tactics to silence critics of the campaign, or even folks who just ask awkward questions about it, whether or not they are justified.

Apparently, in the case of Blakemore-Brown, tainted, unreliable emails were the tool. In Dr Pal's case it was a blatantly ridiculous complaint about a link. In other cases... who knows?

So, although a link was the start of this debate, I suspect we should really be questioning the use of complaints to professional bodies as blunt instruments to silence and deter critics, and the willingness of said bodies to be used in that way.

This indisputable abuse of due process has been going on for a LONG time, as far as I can make out (check out journalist Johnathan Gornall's site for further details), and it's inevitable that, in an open forum such as this, there will be much hopping to and fro amongst the various events that have taken place.

I know that's confusing, because even though I've been following this issue for a few months now, I'm struggling to dig through the comments too.

But, even so, I think this thread and its twin have provided a valuable insight into the way this whole situation works. Criticism of the cause is absolutely not allowed, and anyone who dares to question winds up on the wrong end of a propaganda campaign (not to mention breast-feeling comments etc!). Attempts to rebut false / ridiculous allegations just result in further vitriol, and a stream of bizarre statements which aim to cast further doubt on the victim, with a view to forcing them to back down, give up and go away (except that's not happening this time).

That has been amply demonstrated in the comments posted on both threads, to the extent that, even though I knew it happened and was expecting to see it (you may recall the comment I posted on your blog the other day in that regard), I have been surprised and shocked to see just how unpleasant some of the comments have been - and how little the posters care for the logic, truth and rationality of their statements in pursuit of scoring a point.

Plus, of course, there's the educational aspect of things. Despite a fair bit of background reading, I was unaware of certain points that have been made here in the past couple of days.

One day, when I have a few months to spare, maybe I'll write it all up and post it somewhere, or make it into a book, with detailed explanations of who's who and what it's all about - assuming I ever get to figure it out in enough detail myself:-)

In the meantime, I think the owner of this blog deserves our thanks for allowing this highly instructive demonstration to run its course.

Billy Seggars.

The Scribe said...

"Rita, Did you plan on posting the above cyberstalking commentary on your blog? Just curious, as to what the key points that are needing to maintain main topic here.
-linking as a crime?
-maintaining whether or not that link violated privacy laws?"


Just seen the above comment from you. The issue here is this, initially I was accused of not being accurate Re linking story by those who find it fun to follow me around the internet ( and have been doing so for months). I then placed the evidence stating that the "link issue" was indeed accurate.

You will note though that those from tend to attempt cyberattack. In their worldview its supposed to either deter me from defending myself or alternatively persuade the GMC or the judge to rule against me in some way. That would be their aim.

The issues in summary is as I once listed them on your website. The story is wide and complex. Within it, there is a accusation of a link to a transcript. This is the transcript that and Mellor wishes to be concealed from the world due to obvious reasons - she is the complainant.

Then there is the issue of discovery that one of them tampered with the emails in Lisa Blakemore Brown complaints. That is established.

The issues are interwined very well indeed. are indeed a mess. A combination of damaged individuals and those with grudges against anyone who challenges the status quo. It is the way evolution has adapted them now. So, anyone who challenges them becomes a fox hunted down by them.

At present, I am such a fox - they dig out information on me assuming to threaten me in someway, progress to tell me they know where I live, then progress even further to make assumptions about various issues. These assumptions are often incorrect but designed to make the reader feel I am guilty of something no matter what.

Cyberstalking was already featured on my blog as were those features. I have listed it because I believe fit in the profiles described. It was not intended as a off topic piece - just an interesting study of human behaviour as applied to

If there are any other issues,please leave the questions here and I will endevour to respond.

Basics though are
1. are vexatious in their complaints
2. There are two main players Penny Mellor and Brian Morgan and probably now Paul Heathcote. They all work in tandem to destroy the person they feel is challenging them.
3. The GMC is used as a instrument to harass doctors. They happen to have a grudge against me already so the group took advantage of it.
4. Lisa Blakemore Brown and I have both been harassed in more ways than one through this group. Lisa's worklife has been destroyed.
5. As you can see we are forced to defend ourselves through their bizarre assumptions, accusations etc

Through this blog you will observe the evolution of behaviour from attack to defence to silence. If you look through and read the observation I did on you will understand it.

Dr Rita Pal

Anonymous said...

Rita Pal you're such a liar.

Anonymous said...

Well now, I went over to other blog mentioned on last post. I have no idea what was being commented on but it made interesting reading.

I was very interested to read yet again that Lisa took Sharon's money and ran. Oh really, did she now? What money was this? Children were assessed, they had reports written and she was an expert witness in court but then Sharon did the dirty on her didn't she? Pretended to have terminal Cancer and was so in need of that holiday by the sea with the children. Lisa conveniently living by the South Coast, also just recovering from surgery for Cancer and being the nice person she is, let her stay in her house while she and her husband were in New Zealand. In repayment for her kindness, Sharon trashed her home and stole documents, then instead of having her life saving operation she was due to have turned up in Liverpool to completely destroy Lisa's professional career, or at least try to.

You were asked earlier on these comments to supply proof that Christine Wilson did not get duped into giving Payne money from her Charity because she believed she had cancer.

I have noticed that no proof from the Mellor camp has turned up on this blog. In fact MAMA Muppets very quiet indeed.So come on we are waiting .

Lisa took no money did she? The money she had received from Sharons lawyers was for assessments, report and being a witness in court. She got paid for services rendered. Since when have lawyers paid in advance for services? Lisa had carried out the duties she was paid for, the only reason that she did not go back to court for Sharon, was because after being turned over by her she felt it was in Sharons best interest to use someone else.

After all the damage Sharon had done and of course not forgetting changing Ms Blakemore-Brown's Bank account details into her own, I think she was probably better off dont you?

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