A filmmaker who has worked for the BBC and Netflix was free to terrorise a student because police failed to investigate similar behaviour towards two of his ex-girlfriends, it emerged yesterday.
Stalker Riagain Grainger, 22, vowed to kill and mutilate Georgia Smith, 21, when she rejected him.
During his campaign, he set up 26 fake Instagram accounts and posted pictures of Miss Smith, who he met while studying cinematography at Manchester Metropolitan University, on pornography sites.
Earlier this month Grainger was jailed for two and a half years at Manchester Crown Court by a judge who said he had subjected Miss Smith to a ‘torrent of the most cruel, mean, abusive, abhorrent, vile, vindictive, and hate-filled’ messages he had ever seen.
But yesterday it emerged that Grainger was only free to stalk Miss Smith because officers had failed to take similar claims, reported by two of Grainger’s former girlfriends a year earlier, seriously.
Riagain Grainger an award winning BBC and Netlix filmmaker has been locked for two and a half years after he used Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat to wage a ”cruel vile and vindictive” cyber bullying campaign against a fellow university student who rejected his advances
Stalker Riagain Grainger, 22, vowed to kill and mutilate Georgia Smith, 21 (pictured), when she rejected him
Detective Chief Superintendent Michaela Kerr, head of public protection at Greater Manchester Police (GMP), apologised to Steph Basnett, 23, and Charlotte Burns, 25, and admitted both women had received ‘a poor level of service’. The senior officer has vowed to review their cases.
But Miss Burns, who dropped out of university because of Grainger’s behaviour, said GMP had ‘failed’ all three women.
She said: ‘I feel more angry and upset at the police than I’ll ever be with him. If they had listened to us he wouldn’t have been able to stalk her (Miss Smith).’
And Miss Basnett, who suffered depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder as a consequence of Grainger’s harassment, added: ‘There was a week where I went to the police to report his actions every single day and I was told I was being overdramatic.
‘I didn’t feel listened to. The people I expected to protect me were such a let-down.’
Both women, who were undergraduates at Salford University when they dated Grainger, have made formal complaints to GMP’s professional standards branch.
The force is currently in ‘special measures’ following a damning report in December 2020 that concluded it had failed to investigate 80,000 crimes in 12 months alone.
Grainger bombarded Miss Basnett with texts and calls and repeatedly threatened to kill himself when she broke off their relationship in the summer of 2018.
Although he was given a formal harassment warning when he attempted to break into her flat, Miss Basnett said police claimed they could not issue a non-molestation order because they could not find his address.
Instead her ordeal only ended in October – the same year Grainger started dating Miss Burns. But she too ended their relationship after six months because of his controlling behaviour.
Like with Miss Smith, Miss Burns said Grainger set up numerous accounts on social media in her name when they split.
‘He sent me gifts with notes saying, “Everything will be alright in the end”,’ she said. ‘He sent me another message saying if he couldn’t have me he didn’t know what he would do.
‘He followed me into my lectures. He broke into my back garden.
‘The flat didn’t have curtains and they had automatic lights so I used to have to crawl around so he couldn’t see me inside. I used to make my bed and then sleep under it in case he broke in, so it made it look like I wasn’t home.’
Two former girlfriends of an film director who was jailed for a vile stalking campaign say he could have been stopped if police had taken them seriously. Charlotte Burns, 25, is one of the women who claimed she was silenced by Greater Manchester Police
Steph Basnett, 23, claimed she was subjected to terrifying harassment after ending her relationship with Riagain Grainger
Eventually, Miss Burns reported Grainger to police. But he began sending messages to himself that he pretended were from Miss Burns, which prompted police to warn her against harassing him.
When he was eventually arrested for stalking Miss Smith in October 2019, Grainger, who has earned the praise of Sir Ben Kingsley for his work, tried to claim Miss Burns sent the malicious messages.
But police realised Grainger, of Trillick, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, was the culprit and persuaded Miss Burns to testify against him. He pleaded guilty to stalking Miss Smith between September and October 2019, sparing Miss Burns the ordeal of having to give evidence at trial.
Michael Goldwater, defending, said: ‘He had undiagnosed mental health issues and because of this, he did not take rejection well.
‘Since graduating he has gone on to work on significant projects including Dungeons and Dragons and The School for Good and Evil. He is currently working with BBC3 on a comedy and has a contract with Netflix to do a comedy.’
In a statement, Detective Chief Superintendent Kerr said: ‘I would like to sincerely apologise to the two women who experienced such poor service from Greater Manchester Police. We let them down.’
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