Matthew Pyke was a 20 year old student from Suffolk. He'd studied physics at Nottingham's Trent University and had a promising future ahead of him. What happened to Matthew shows how the 'unthinkable' can actually happen. It's a devastating reminder why we must all take obsessive behaviour seriously. Sometimes it's not just the object of a stalker's fixation at risk.
On 19th September 2008 seemingly 'out of the blue' Matthew was killed by a man who'd become completely fixated on his girlfriend.
Matthew was a special person. A desperately missed brother, uncle and son. His family is still struggling to understand what led to his death. They're supporting Trust Your Instinct and urge anyone who comes across 'obsessive or stalking' behaviour to take it seriously.
Matthew lived with his girlfriend Joanna - they'd planned to get married and had celebrated 3 years together. They were both into on-line gaming (that's how they met) and ran an on-line discussion forum. In March, Joanna was messaged via Facebook by a man who said he'd seen her photos and 'had a crush on her'. She told him she wasn't interested.
Over the next few months, the man - 21 year old German computer fan David Heiss - became increasingly obsessed. In June, he actually turned up outside the couple's flat -having travelled all the way from Frankfurt. Joanna was very upset - she admits she was terrified and "went to the toilet and cried". The couple - like many of us faced with inappropriate behaviour - perhaps gave him the benefit of the doubt.
They agreed to let Heiss sleep on their sofa He slept on their floor for a night and stayed in the Nottingham area for a month - in hostels and various hotels - leaving Joanna love notes and waiting for her after work.
Heiss then returned home and his obsession with Joanna escalated. He made threats about Matthew on-line. Joanna threatened to cut off all contact with him - he said he would come to Nottingham and kill himself. Joanna didn't believe him. She said, "People throw threats across the internet all the time, you don't take them seriously."
David Heiss turned up in Nottingham to see Joanna a second time - again she told him she wasn't interested. Heiss returned home and planned a third trip to England. The morning after Matthew and Joanna celebrated their third anniversary, Heiss watched her leave the flat for work. He stabbed Matthew - still in his dressing gown - 86 times. Matthew died on 19th September 2008.
When Matthew's family received the call to tell them he'd been murdered, they were in total shock. They'd had no idea what was happening. They'd never heard of David Heiss and didn't know that Matthew's girlfriend had an obsessive admirer. His brother Adam feels sure Matthew and Joanna 'wanted to handle it themselves - to show they were adults'.
Joanna has said that they didn't take Heiss seriously and Adam feels sure that if his brother had been really worried about the situation, he would have confided in their Mum but she knew nothing about it.