United Kingdom

Matthew Wright's stalker, 54, is given restraining order for harassing TV presenter's family

Matthew Wright's stalker has been given a restraining order after taunting the TV presenter's wife over stillbirths and threatening to snatch their child. 

Michelle Ranicar, 54, was handed the order at Wood Green Crown Court for stalking the presenter and his wife Amelia.

The so-called 'superfan' was said to have repeatedly visited Mr Wright's home in Primrose Hill, London, bearing gifts and messages declaring her love for him, after she was barred from being a guest in the audience of his chat show due to security concerns about her behaviour towards the presenter.

Her seven-month stalking campaign was brought to an end in May 2019, when she was arrested after turning up at the Wrights' home and telling his wife: 'Amelia, I want to see the baby.'

Prosecutor Rebecca Foulkes said: 'They both live in fear of what Michelle Ranicar may do to their baby.'

In October the distraught couple told how they were taunted over stillbirths when Amelia was pregnant with their daughter, Cassady, and said the 'hysterical' Ranicar even threatened to 'snatch' their child. 

Michelle Ranicar, from Uxbridge, admitted to stalking Matthew Wright and his wife Amelia between November 2017 and May 2018. On one occasion she even threatened to 'snatch' their child

Ranicar, 54, from Uxbridge, admitted one count of stalking to cause serious alarm or distress between November and May 2018 at Wood Green Crown Court on Tuesday, October 20.

Today she was sentenced to a three-year community order and a restraining order for one count of stalking.

Judge Jeremy Benson said: 'You must understand that the cumulative effect on Mr and Mrs Wright was that they were fearful, didn't feel safe, they were worried about their baby, and they were worried about what you might do.

'Over a long period of time, you made their lives a misery.'

Ranicar, of Uxbridge in west London, thanked the judge as she was told she would not be jailed.

Following Ranicar's guilty plea in October, Matthew Wright's wife Amelia said the ordeal 'cast a long shadow, we're still shaken by the whole thing' 

She pursued the presenter and his wife Amelia, who had daughter Cassady in January 2019, including turning up at their home in Primrose Hill, north London.

A judge heard Ranicar suffers from learning difficulties and had been diagnosed with a 'mild autism spectrum disorder', as reported by the Mirror.

A regular audience member for The Wright Stuff, Ranicar described herself as a 'superfan' in an interview in 2016.  

Ranicar first approached Mrs Wright at a charity event in September 2018, when she told the television presenter's five-months-pregnant wife that "women your age with IVF babies are more likely to have still-births".

Ranicar met Matthew Wright (pictured together) after regularly appearing in the studio audience of The Wright Stuff, but was banned from the set after claiming they had a relationship 

The defendant would attend events Mr Wright was due to appear at, such as rallies and charity functions, as well as at Mr Wright's new workplace talkRadio, where she was told to leave and escorted from the building.

The court heard Ranicar then discovered where Mr Wright lived, and would turn up at his home unannounced.

On one occasion in early January 2019, she shouted through the letter box at Amelia, who was heavily pregnant at time: 'When is the baby due, which hospital? Let me look after her.'

The matter was reported to police, but the Wrights decided not to press charges following their child's birth later that month, as they 'felt sorry for her', the court heard.

But Ranicar reignited her stalking campaign in April, appearing at the Wright family home and shouting: 'Amelia, I want to see the baby.'

She also tried to take a picture on her mobile phone through the letterbox, the court heard.

Ms Foulkes said: 'Mrs Wright felt vulnerable in her own home, and described it as emotional torture.

'She cancelled medical appointments to the detriment of her own health because she was worried about going out.

'Mr Wright felt vulnerable, terrified and scared - he felt there was nowhere he could go locally without looking over his shoulder.

'He didn't feel safe anymore because she (Ranicar) could turn up unannounced.'

Mr and Mrs Wright were not present in court for the hearing.

The couple spoke to ITV's Lorraine on Thursday about their ordeal, following Ranicar's guilty plea.

Amelia said at the time: 'It was the most horrendous time we've been through, scary and frightening,' Amelia told Lorraine.

She added: 'I didn't want to go out of the house because she said she wanted to snatch the baby. You can imagine how you just live in fear and terror and you don't want to go out.' 

Matthew explained that he first met Ranicar when she was a regular member of the studio audience on his former show The Wright Stuff.

Matthew and Amelia Wright filmed themselves during one of the incidents when Ranicar arrived outside their home in London 

'It built up over a period of time from the lady being in the audience of my TV show. I was friendly to everybody in the audience, but I was unaware that she started to develop notions that we had a relationship.'

'Then a newspaper ran an interview with her and that was the first time and she said something like, 'I don't like the way our relationship is going' and I thought, 'I've never had a relationship with you!' he explained. 

Speaking at today's hearing, Saul Herman, defending, said his client 'understands the court must punish her for the distresses this has caused,' and said she had committed no further offending since her arrest last May 

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