‘He joined my accommodation group chat’: York student stalked by her driving instructor
He followed her up to York, posed online as a fellow student and paid dark web hackers to access her social media accounts
Maisie Relph, a first-year Psychology in Education student at The University of York, has shared her experience after being stalked by her driving instructor.
Her 52-year-old driving instructor followed her up to York from London, joined her accommodation group chat posing as a student, and paid dark web hackers to access her social media accounts.
Maisie told The York Tab if it wasn’t for her flatmates, “I probably would have dropped out of university.”
The man involved, Graham Mansie, has since received a two-month suspended sentence and an indefinite restraining order meaning he will be imprisoned for five years if he breaks it.
Maisie Relph began driving lessons with Mr Mansie in July 2020 after receiving recommendations from her friends who had passed with him. She had lessons with him every week until the lockdown in November and everything seemed fine. Her lessons resumed in April 2021 and it was then she started noticing things didn’t feel quite right. “He made the odd comment and kept on telling me I was his favourite. My gut was telling me things were wrong” she said.
Then three weeks before her driving test and around her 18th birthday he asked her out for a drink and made a TikTok account called “For Maisie” with the bio reading “my favourite” with a red heart. She said, “I continued to get weird vibes but just thought it would be ok.”
When Maisie failed her test in May, he was visibly distraught and was “crying his eyes out.” He then told her he couldn’t teach her anymore as he felt too guilty. Maisie says she believes he thought if she wasn’t his pupil anymore that it would be ok to engage in a relationship with her.
Regardless, they carried on with lessons and he booked her a driving test under his name. Mr Mansie then set up another Instagram account called “MJR Countdowns” which counted down the days until he would see her. At this point, Maisie realised she should cancel the lessons and test “because he was clearly obsessed.”
But then at the end of one of Maisie’s friend’s driving test, Mr Mansie handed her a bag of presents to give to Maisie. The bag included £65 worth of vouchers, a note “confessing his love to me” and several keyrings that referenced minute details about her such as the breed of her dog which Maisie had mentioned in passing.
Maisie then blocked him, cancelled the lessons and told her mum who told Mr Mansie to leave her alone. But in July, as she was driving home with her mum, they saw his car parked at the end of their road which she described as “a private-dead end road.” Upon seeing them, he went speeding off, “obviously knowing he was in the wrong.”
As concern was growing and with Maisie soon moving to university, they reported this to the police. Maisie says she was told they needed solid photographic evidence.
In September, Maisie moved to York for university “and the drama then really did begin”. Mr Mansie joined her accommodation block group chat on WhatsAapp and travelled up to York to try and find her. “At that point, I was really scared,” she told The York Tab.
“From week two of university, my life was being absolutely bogged down with this. I was missing lecture after lecture for calls with the police.” Police then told Maisie to cut her hair and change her clothing. “There were loads of sort of rules every time I was going out. I couldn’t go out on my own at all. It was obviously really scary.”
Mr Mansie was arrested at the beginning of November and upon his arrest, police found he had created an Instagram persona called Ben Williams, posing as an 18-year-old boy at The University of York. He had been stalking her and all her flatmates’ accounts for the last six weeks. “He knew exactly where we were at all times.”
Maisie never accepted the follow request: “I was being really paranoid and not accepting requests from anyone so in Freshers’ Week he paid dark web hackers to hack into my account to accept the follow request. I was absolutely terrified.” She continued: “I was on my own for the first time. I was genuinely petrified, I was even sleeping in one of my flatmate’s rooms, it was awful.”
Maisie said the support she received from the university was great but wanted to thank her flat for the support they gave her and how great they had been throughout it all. She said: “Luckily I have the most brilliant flat, they’re absolutely lovely. Genuinely I think I would have probably ended up having to drop out if it wasn’t for them.”
Mr Mansie was charged and put on bail in November. But in court in February, he pleaded innocent, meaning the case would have to go to trial and Maisie go to court.
The case was given an emergency court date in April “because of how much it was affecting my life”, Maisie says. Maisie says Mr Mansie was an ex-lawyer so knew the law well, she suggested, “which has always been a massive nightmare.” He turned up to court with no lawyers, and Maisie says she believes this was in an attempt to delay the trial.
He was consequently given emergency lawyers and pleaded guilty to one count of stalking after changing his plea to guilt on the first day of trial. “This was obviously a massive relief,” Maisie said. But around six hours later, Maisie received a text from him that read: “You have killed me.” Maisie informed the police and gave a statement on this: “I was so upset because as much as I don’t like the man I don’t want to be responsible for his death. I was absolutely mortified. I felt awful.”
“A day that had been so stressful that we finally thought had come to an end was ruined by this”, she continued. The police went to re-arrest him for breaking his bail but couldn’t find him. Mr Mansie was then announced as a wanted missing person and Maisie was put under “house arrest” in London due to high suspicion of him travelling up to York in an attempt to find her.
“I couldn’t go out at all. All I wanted was to be back at uni and I couldn’t. My flatmates were all absolutely terrified too because he was going to come up here looking for me and find them in the process.”
Mr Mansie was eventually found 48 hours later, potentially looking for Maisie, she says. He was rearrested and the sentencing was held on the 18th of May. He was given a two month suspended sentence and an electronically monitored tag for 12 months. He was also given an indefinite restraining order and will be imprisoned for five years if he breaks it, as well as 30 stalker-prevention therapy sessions.
Maisie said: “it’s been a shame because it was my first year at university and from week three it was going wrong” but said she was “very relieved” at the sentencing and saw it as “a great outcome.” She continued: “A restraining order means he can’t touch me but equally he will be helped by the therapy sessions.”
Maisie told The York Tab she wanted to share her story, particularly around campus, as she felt it “super important to raise awareness” from a safety point of view and to acknowledge how supportive her flatmates have been throughout the entire situation.
If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, please speak to someone or contact the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or via their website. Alternatively, Paladin offers support for victims of stalking. Support services for the North Yorkshire area can also be found here or by calling 01609 643 100.