A 54-year-old fan has been given a restraining order for stalking TV and radio presenter Matthew Wright and his family and leaving them fearing for their baby.
“Obsessed” Michelle Ranicar, 54, was given the order at Wood Green Crown Court on Tuesday for sending messages to Wright’s family and demanding to speak to him and look after his infant daughter.
Having been banned from his Channel 5 show The Wright Stuff’s audience following security concerns about her behaviour, she was said to have gone to Wright’s home in north London with gifts and messages of love.
She also tried to take a picture with her phone through the letterbox.
She first approached Amelia Wright – who was then five months pregnant – at a charity event in September 2018 and told her that “women your age with IVF babies are more likely to have stillbirths”.
Ranicar would go to events Wright was scheduled to appear at, and to his workplace at talkRadio.
In January 2019 she shouted through the Wrights’ letterbox to Amelia: “When is the baby due, which hospital? Let me look after her.”
The Wrights’ daughter Cassady was born the same month. The couple, who have been married since 2010, had endured six failed IVF attempts.
The incident was reported to police but the Wrights declined to press charges, feeling sorry for her.
Her seven months of stalking ended in May 2019 when she was arrested after arriving at the Wrights’ home and telling the presenter’s 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.”
Previously, the Wrights told ITV’s Lorraine that Ranicar, who has been described as a “superfan”, would regularly appear in the audience for his show.
Amelia said the stalking left her “emotionally scarred”.
“You can imagine how you just live in fear and terror and you don’t want to go out,” she said.
“The last time she came round Matthew was there but she got more hysterical and it got more serious.”
Matthew added: “Amelia wouldn’t go out of the house and when we did go out of the house together, she would be looking down every side street in every doorway expecting someone to leap out.
“As anyone who has been through this kind of experience will tell you, it just takes over your life.”
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 any more because she [Ranicar] could turn up unannounced.”
On Tuesday, the judge, Jeremy Benson QC, gave Ranicar a three-year community order on top of the restraining order and 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 thanked the judge after being told she would not go to prison.
Saul Herman, defending Ranicar, said she “understands the court must punish her for the distresses this has caused” and said she had not offended again since May.
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