A VICTIM of stalker Matthew Hardy has spoken of how his actions left her fearing for her life.

Northwich resident Hardy, dubbed Britain’s worst cyber stalker, was jailed for nine years in 2022.

Now, Kristen Dugdale, one of his many victims, has opened up for the first time about her experience.

The mother-of-one and former model, 31, was first contacted in February 2019 by an anonymous Instagram account claiming to have an important message about her then-husband.

Over the next two years, Hardy would accuse her of sleeping with her father-in-law, and subject her to a barrage of anonymous phone calls and abusive messages.

She became convinced it was someone she knew - and stopped trusting those close to her, driving a wedge between her and her now-ex.

“I was scared for my life at one point," she said.

"I lost my confidence and my trust in people around me.

"Before I knew it was Hardy, this random person from a place I had never been to, I was questioning everyone around me.

“It affected my mental health, and it’s not fair – it's had a lasting impact on me, and I lost friends.

“I ended up getting into a lot of arguments with my ex over it. It affected our relationship."

Northwich Guardian: Mother-of-one and former model, Kristen Dugdale Mother-of-one and former model, Kristen Dugdale (Image: SWNS)

Earlier this year, Netflix released a documentary - Can I Tell You a Secret? - providing an insight into Hardy's crimes and the investigation which led to his arrest

Hardy created hundreds of fake social media accounts and is believed to have targeted 63 victims over 11 years, according to reports.

In Kristen’s case, Hardy set up fake profiles pretending to be her.

Kristen says Hardy seemed to know the names of her friends and family - mentioning her ex-husband's friends' names, and even their wives and girlfriends’ names.

It made her believe the person hounding her online was someone she knew in person.

Hardy even messaged people she knew from his personal Facebook.

In one instance he contacted her and her ex-partner's dad directly to accuse them of sleeping together.

Despite first contacting Wiltshire Police in September 2019, the campaign of abuse continued until Hardy was arrested in 2020 - and all contact stopped.

Hardy was convicted at Chester Crown Court in January 2022.

Kristen was not involved in the court case but police have confirmed she was one of his victims.

She said: “It was so scary at that time – I started accusing people I knew, I didn't trust anyone.

“He seemed to know loads of really personal stuff about me, it was just awful, he alienated me from trusting some of my ex-partner’s friends and even family.

“I found it strange in the end how he didn't even conceal his identity – it was like he wanted to get caught but thought he was invincible and nothing would happen."

Northwich Guardian: Kristen said the ordeal affected her mental health and trust in othersKristen said the ordeal affected her mental health and trust in others (Image: SWNS)

Kristen added: “The last thing I said to him is I wouldn’t stop until he was in jail.

“I was very shocked by how high his sentence was – people do worse things and get less time, so I was happy with the sentence.

“This needs to be stopped in its tracks before it gets to such a serious level, [the police] waited until it got really bad.

“When I found out [it was Hardy], I told the police it was him and they didn’t believe me, it felt like I had to do their job for them, and they couldn’t do anything until something serious happened.

“People need to be aware, and police need to take this kind of thing a bit more seriously.”