(WTNH) — If you’ve been following this week’s legal proceedings for the man who stalked Sandra Bullock until he was inside the superstar’s home last year, you might be struck by a couple of things: how deranged some people can be when it comes to famous individuals, and how ultimately unprotected she and other world-renowned individuals have been facing the ultimate terror — a madman inside their homes.
A panicked 911 call Bullock made to police last June was played Thursday in a preliminary hearing for Joshua James Corbett. Corbett, after lurking around the actress’s Los Angeles home for three nights, finally managed to get through three security gates to make it inside. When Bullock went out to investigate, she came face-to-face with Corbett, as he clutched a love letter to the actress and magazine photos of her. She retreated to a closet, where she called 911, the fear in her voice palpable. Corbett yesterday was ordered to stand trial, and is being held on $2-million bond.
The murder of John Lennon is always cited as maybe the worst obsessed-fan tragedy of them all. But fellow Beatle George Harrison had a stalker nightmare of his own, one he only barely survived. In the middle of the night on December 30, 1999, a mentally ill man named Michael Abram scaled the fence outside Harrison’s estate in Oxfordshire, Britain, then threw a statue through a window to enter the home.
That woke up Harrison and his wife, Olivia. The 56-year-old Beatle tried to tackle Abram, who had a knife. But his efforts to disarm him were futile, and Harrison was stabbed numerous times in the chest. Olivia Harrison ran into the room and hit Abram with a lamp. That made him drop the knife, but he then tried to strangle her with the lamp’s cord. By the time police arrived, George had been stabbed 40-times and had a punctured lung. Doctors said his stab wounds barely missed major arteries, and that he would have died had they been pierced.
Prosecutors said Abram, who suffers from schizophrenia, believed Harrison possessed him, and that he’d been sent by God to kill the legendary musician. George survived, only to die of throat cancer two years later. In interviews over the years since, Olivia has said her husband’s health never really recovered after the attack. As for Abram, he was released from a mental institution only three years later.
And then there was the home invasion of perhaps the most famous person of them all: Queen Elizabeth !!. In 1982, an unemployed laborer named Michael Fagan climbed up a drainpipe at Buckingham Palace and made it inside the Queen’s private apartment, where she awoke to find him in her bedroom. Legend has it she talked calmly with Fagan for 10-minutes until help arrived, but he says she immediately ran out of the room. Fagan also spent time in a mental health facility, but never faced criminal charges.
There are other examples of how stalkers actually reached their famous prey. But even if the celebrity angle doesn’t get your attention, this should: if a movie star, a Beatle, and the Queen of England couldn’t keep crazy assailants out of their homes, what chance does an everyday person have — maybe a woman being stalked by a spurned husband or boyfriend — of keeping them at a safe distance, when they don’t have a fraction of the security and safety measures that wealthy and famous people can afford..