A London councillor was left scared to sleep at his home and had a panic button installed after the man convicted of stalking him was released from prison last week.

Cllr Anton Georgiou claims he faced death threats, faeces through his door, and was sent pictures of himself that had been ejaculated on during a terrifying six-month ordeal.

Released from prison last week (April 18), the man breached the restraining order imposed on him within hours by emailing the terrified councillor. He is now back in prison having pleaded guilty to the breach.

Speaking out publicly for the first time since it happened, Cllr Georgiou, the leader of Brent Council's Liberal Democrat group, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) about the devastating impact the events had on his life both personally and professionally.

He said: “During the worst times I felt suicidal, it was that bad. I felt like I couldn’t do this anymore, it was like my whole world was coming down around me. Everything I had worked towards in terms of my political career, in terms of the reputation I have as a hard-working person.”

Cllr Georgiou, 28, had met the perpetrator, Jack O’Donnell, 27, on a couple of occasions back in 2019. However, things escalated suddenly in 2021. He said: “It was calls and calls on my phone, it was messages, it was emails, it was Twitter messages, it was Instagram. […] It became relentless.”

Message sent to Cllr Georgiou. Cllr Georgiou said he had to block more than 200 phone numbers. Image Credit: Anton Georgiou. Permission to use with all LDRS partners.

Message sent to Cllr Georgiou. Cllr Georgiou said he had to block more than 200 phone numbers. Image Credit: Anton Georgiou. Permission to use with all LDRS partners.

He added: “I asked him to stop but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I have probably blocked over 200 phone numbers and countless Twitter accounts. He had even set up fan pages of me on Twitter. He had trawled through my Instagram, my Facebook and posted private pictures of me.”

In messages seen by the LDRS, he told the councillor: “you could run into me at any time […] I’ll always be round the corner. I know where you live, work, etc and can bump into you anywhere I want. You’ll never be free from this, Anton.”

The constant bombardment of messages and phone calls from O’Donnell left him “totally overwhelmed” and had a devastating impact on his mental health. Cllr Georgiou said: “I lost all ability to do anything socially because I feared going out. I’d end up having 300 or 400 calls and friends would be wondering why my phone wouldn’t stop ringing.

Message sent to Cllr Georgiou. Cllr Georgiou said being bombarded with text messages left him \completely overwhelmed\. Image Credit: Anton Georgiou. Permission to use with all LDRS partners.

Message sent to Cllr Georgiou. Cllr Georgiou said being bombarded with text messages left him \"completely overwhelmed\". Image Credit: Anton Georgiou. Permission to use with all LDRS partners.

“People say ‘just turn your phone off’ but it’s my phone, I shouldn’t have to do that. It’s like the person doing this to you has total control over your life. I’d go out some nights and I’d have my then 84-year-old grandma [who he lives with] calling me in the early hours of the morning telling me the phone hasn’t stopped ringing all night and she hasn’t been able to sleep.”

Cllr Georgiou claims it carried on for two months before he reported it to the Metropolitan Police, although as  O’Donnell lived in the Republic of Ireland it was out of their jurisdiction.  The councillor wasn’t initially scared that he would be physically harmed due to the distance but told the LDRS “That came later.”

One day the councillor was alerted to a recorded video posted online where O’Donnell made threats to kill him and the stalking behaviour escalated.

Cllr Georgiou said: “I had faeces sent through my door, my grandma took delivery of that. I’ve had letters, lots of letters. I was even sent pictures in emails from random accounts that he had created of him having ejaculated over photos of myself. It was disgusting.”

He added: “It was a very intense period. At the time I am also working towards the May elections, out there having to campaign and make strategic political decisions. Also trying to make a living, I was working. It all became too much for me.”

O’Donnell was eventually arrested and charged by the Metropolitan Police when he was in the UK on May 23, 2022. He appeared at Willesden Magistrates Court the following day and subsequently held in prison on remand while he awaited a trial date at Harrow Crown Court.

Cllr Georgiou said he felt scared knowing O’Donnell was physically in the country. He added: “It goes from deeply annoying and very controlling to being much more worrying as someone in that state of mind is now physically in the country you live in. It becomes scary. Really scary.”

He said it was “a relief” to know he was in prison but felt the time served handed down was “not long enough” as he showed “no signs of remorse or regret”.

He was finally convicted of stalking involving fear of violence by a judge at Harrow Crown Court on April 17 this year and sentenced to 21 months in prison and issued with a restraining order. However, he was released the following day (April 18) having served 11 months of the sentence on remand.

When he was informed by a Metropolitan Police Officer last week (April 17) that O’Donnell was going to be released the next day, Cllr Georgiou said it “didn’t really sink in”.

Cllr Georgiou was “worried” because, as far as he knew, O’Donnell was still in London. He said: “I spent more on Ubers in those four days than I had in the past month. I tried my best not to be at my house actually. To me, he’s an animal that had been caged for 12 months and he’s dangerous.”

His fears were soon realised when, within hours of his release, O’Donnell had already breached his restraining order by sending him emails. This prompted the police to install a new panic button at the councillor’s home for his safety.

O’Donnell was rearrested on April 24. He was charged with two counts of breaching a restraining order on April 25 and pleaded guilty to both offences at Willesden Magistrates Court on the same day.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “A man has been charged and pleaded guilty to breaching a restraining order. Jack O’Donnell, 27 (31.01.1996) of no fixed address was charged on Tuesday, 25 April with two counts of breaching a restraining order. He appeared the same day at Willesden Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to both offences. He was remanded in custody to appear at Harrow Crown Court on a date to be confirmed.”

They added: “The charges relate to a restraining order which was imposed at Harrow Crown Court on Monday, April 17. At the court, O’Donnell was also sentenced to 21 months in prison for stalking involving fear of violence. He was released having served time on remand.

“It was subsequently reported that on Tuesday, April 18 and Wednesday, April 19 he had breached this restraining order by sending emails to parties concerned. He was arrested on Monday, 24 April and subsequently charged as above. He has also been recalled to prison for the original offence.”

Cllr Georgiou expressed “great relief” at the news and reflects on what it was like to experience the last few years as an elected official. He said: “It’s very psychological, it’s very controlling. They get into your head and make you think it’s all you. It was all deeply embarrassing and I thought it would hinder my chances of re-election.”

He also felt that he had let his friends and family down during that time due to it having a big impact on their life. He said: “There was an element of guilt because I wasn’t the person I should have been over that period. I just kept focused on what I needed to do so I think being a councillor almost saved me at that time.”

Cllr Georgiou opened up about the security issues of being a public servant. Due to being a councillor, some of his personal details, such as his address and phone number, are published online which he described as “not helpful”.

He added. “We also all hold public surgeries once a month so people know where we are going to be. That is an invite for a mad person who wants to do something stupid or potentially very harmful. All councillors are at risk of that, anyone could go through what I’ve been through.”

He says he doesn’t feel safe as a councillor at the moment and more needs to be done to ensure the safety of elected officials. “I don’t think we want to lose that connection between councillor and constituent because then you lose how we do politics in this country. I don’t have the answers but I do think there are questions that need to be asked and start being looked at by those that can make change.”