York student who was stalked by her instructor has passed her driving test
Maisie Relph said that passing her test has given her ‘closure’
The York student who was stalked by her driving instructor has passed her driving test.
Maisie Relph, a Psychology in Education student at The University of York passed with just three minors after taking her test in secret on Sunday.
After taking driving lessons in Bromley, south-east London, Graham Mansie, Maisie’s 52-year-old driving instructor, became obsessed and 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. At the time, Maisie told The York Tab: “I was genuinely petrified.”
Maisie started to learn to drive again with female instructor Jenny Williams and said that passing her test has given her closure. She told The York Tab: “I am absolutely over the moon for passing and honestly can’t quite believe it. I’m still in shock! I want to thank my new driving instructor for allowing me to regain trust and giving me some much-needed confidence.”
After going to the police, Mansie admitted to stalking in court in May but avoided jail. However, he was sentenced to 20 months in prison in September for breaking his restraining order after Maisie’s flatmate spotted him outside their flat in possession of blades.
Maisie had tried going back to driving lessons with a new instructor in January but found she had to quit over her ordeal. But when she had to redo her theory test in October, she started to think about her practical test again and got back behind the wheel. Maisie said she could never have had another male instructor, but knew she would have to have a male examiner for her test.
She said: “My exam was the first time I’d been on my own with a man in the car [since]. It was very scary. It brought back such a lot of memories of things Graham had done and said. I think that and the test were equally frightening. I knew I just had to face it, I just had to try not to think about it. I’d never have been able to manage with another male instructor.”
Maisie took her test in secret and surprised her friends and family with the news: “Nobody expected me to take my test. They were totally gobsmacked. I didn’t tell a soul I was taking it. I didn’t want the pressure. My new instructor said I’d been through much worse than taking my test and she was right. Having to face Graham in court was the most frightening thing I’ve ever done. I just drew on all my determination and resilience to take my test, and I’m so glad I did.”
She continued: “If I hadn’t had someone so lovely and supportive for my new instructor I wouldn’t have had the confidence to sit it. I’ve really got her to thank. I’d like to reassure anyone in a similar situation just to keep strong, determined and resilient, try to keep doing the things you want to do and find ways to do them safely.”
Maisie also asked that with Mr Mansie’s prison sentence ending in March “which is absolutely terrifying for me and my friends,” that students be aware and report any suspicious behaviour around campus at York.
Featured image via SWNS.
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.