Gwyneth Paltrow fears for safety over stalker

Gwyneth Paltrow attends a ceremony honoring actor Rob Lowe with a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California.
Gwyneth Paltrow attends a ceremony honoring actor Rob Lowe with a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES • Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow told a Los Angeles court on Monday that she feared for her safety after receiving dozens of letters from a man accused of stalking her for the past 17 years, said media reports.

Paltrow, who read aloud the letters sent by Dante Michael Soiu, 67, told the jury she found the messages "religious to pornographic to threatening", the California wire agency City News Service reported.

The 43-year-old said Soiu sent her about 70 letters, a cookbook, clothing and other items from 2009 to last year, City News Service said.

"I have a goal to marry Gwyneth Paltrow," one letter said, according to City News Service.

A 2010 letter declared, "You are hopelessly lost," CBS News reported.

"Now you must die. Yourself must die so that Christ can have preeminence."

Paltrow, who testified for about three hours, told the court she feared for the safety of her family and said at least one of the letters had arrived directly at her Los Angeles home.

Soiu's attorney Lynda Westlund told the court that he is harmless and said Paltrow misinterpreted his letters, many of which were biblical in nature and meant as religious messages to the actress, City News Service said.

Soiu has pleaded not guilty to one felony count of stalking.

This is the second time that Soiu, of Columbus, Ohio, has faced trial on charges of stalking Paltrow. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity in a 2001 trial.

He spent more than three years in a mental health facility after the trial, CBS News reported.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2016, with the headline 'Gwyneth Paltrow fears for safety over stalker'. Print Edition | Subscribe