In the Media

Doctor's stalker had record of lies and false allegations

PUBLISHED September 20, 2006

A STALKER who harassed a psychiatrist before making allegations that led to him being charged with rape terrorised another couple before she targeted him, The Times has learnt.

Police officers who investigated Jan Falkowski after Maria Marchese made her claims, and those who investigated her for stalking him, had no knowledge of her campaign of harassment and false allegations against earlier victims.

The case has echoes of the Bichard inquiry after the Soham murders in August 2002, which condemned failures in police intelligence-sharing and called for a national code of practice for police forces on creating, retaining, deleting and sharing records.

Dr Falkowski, a consultant psychiatrist at St Clement?s Hospital, in East London, was under suspicion of rape for 18 months as a result of Marchese?s allegations, before DNA evidence confirmed his innocence and the case was dropped in August last year. He was suspended from work for a year and lost his private practice as a result.

In December 2003, a month before she made the accusations, a prosecution against Marchese, 45, for stalking Dr Falkowski had been dropped by the CPS. Last month, after a second prosecution, she was convicted at Southwark Crown Court of harassment, making threats to kill Dr Falkowski?s former fianc?e, Deborah Pemberton, and perverting the course of justice by making her false rape claims.

She bombarded the couple with threatening text messages and phone calls, which forced them ultimately to call off their wedding and destroyed their relationship. Marchese, of Bow, East London, is in prison awaiting sentencing.

Only after her trial, when Dr Falkowski, 45, received a letter from her previous victims, did evidence of her long history as a stalker come to light. The married couple, who do not wish to be identified, told the doctor about their similar experiences with Marchese, a former cheese seller at Selfridges. In their letter they said that they were ?devastated that we only recently heard about your case as we may have been able to discredit Ms Marchese?s fabrications when her accusations were initially made?.

As a result of her campaign against this couple, Marchese was bound over to keep the peace for 12 months on two occasions. The first was at Bow Street Magistrates? Court in London in February 1992. The couple left London to escape her in 1993, but the stalking continued, including a threat by Marchese in 1996 to kidnap the couple?s baby. In April 2000 she was bound over again at a magistrates? court in the North of England.

Since Dr Falkowski received the letter, police have visited the couple and obtained detailed information about their case. Their experiences chillingly reflect those of the psychiatrist and Miss Pemberton.

In both instances, Marchese appeared to be obsessively infatuated with her male victim and viciously jealous of his partner. In the first case she contacted the woman victim?s neighbours and colleagues to tell them that she was a prostitute. In the second, she claimed that Miss Pemberton was unfaithful to Dr Falkowski. In both cases, she contacted her victims? employers in an attempt to disrupt their careers. Even her rape allegations against Dr Falkowski are mirrored in her claims that her previous male target attacked her on the London Underground with a knife.

In their letter, the couple, who felt that many people did not take their own case seriously, said: ?It was like reading notes from our past when we saw your story: death threats and verbal abuse, endless abusive phone calls, hoax calls, along with calls to our friends, work colleagues and family . . . [it] was like stepping back in time, and we both felt sick.?

The couple provided the courts with ?copious details of her continuous malicious harassment?. In their letter, they added that they ?thought this would have all been on her police record?.

Dr Falkowski said that had this information been known to police investigating his case, he would never have been charged with rape. He said: ?The police officers had no idea of her past. The problem is with major failings in the system. Either there is no record of her past behaviour, and there should have been, or there is and it wasn?t made available. It is like Holly and Jessica (the Soham murder victims), police forces not sharing evidence.?

Scotland Yard said that Marchese?s previous harassment had not been recorded on the Police National Computer because she had been bound over and not convicted of a crime. The Association of Chief Police Officers is looking into developing a computer system that would record far more details on suspects, as recommended by the Bichard inquiry.
  • Spring 1990 Marchese begins stalking a man and his partner (later wife). Couple report harassment over the next nine years
  •  February 1992 Marchese arrested and charged with threatening behaviour
  • August 1992 Marchese accuses male of attacking her with a knife and brings civil action against him at Westminster County Court. The case is dropped
  • 1996 Marchese given official warning by police after threatening to kidnap a baby
  • April 2000 After continued harassment of baby?s parents, Marchese bound over to keep the peace for 12 months
  • October 2002 Marchese?s campaign against Dr Falkowski and Deborah Pemberton begins
  • September 6, 2003 Marchese arrested in Poole, Dorset. Falkowski and Pemberton had planned to marry in Poole on this date
  • December 2003 First prosecution against Marchese dropped. Marchese threatens to kill Dr Falkowski
  • January 2004 Marchese questioned by police over death threats and alleges that Dr Falkowski raped her in June 2002
  • December 2004 Falkowski charged with rape
  • August 2005 Case against Falkowski dropped. Second prosecution of Marchese begins
  • August 2006 Marchese convicted of harassment, threats to kill and perverting the course of justice. Held in custody
  • September 2006 Sentencing delayed after Marchese sacks her legal team