It was the most unlikely of sting operations — the BBC, two famous gardeners and an obsessed stalker.
But for Diarmuid Gavin and his family, it was anything but funny.
The popular television presenter yesterday revealed how he had to enlist the help of Alan Titchmarsh and the BBC to catch the woman after she broke into his home and confronted his pregnant wife telling her: “I’m in love with your husband.”
The BBC hired a private detective to catch the stalker after the police failed to act. A sting was put in place and Gavin and Titchmarsh confronted the woman at a flower show and lured her in front of the camera.
“I’ve had some strange fans over the years but she was a proper stalker and for a long time I was the only one who’d ever seen this woman. She was always there,” said Gavin.
“It got so bad I was scared I’d arrive on set one day and someone would say, ‘this is your new producer’ or I’d go home and find her having tea with my wife.
“She broke into my house. My wife, Justine, was there and she was pregnant. This woman said to her, ‘I’m in love with your husband’, and my wife said: ‘In that case, you need to see a doctor.’
“It was very hard to get the police to do anything. In the end, the BBC hired a detective and we organised a bit of a sting operation at a flower show. Alan, me, and some BBC producers tried to lure her in. She always positioned herself right in front of the camera.
“Once she was there, we had her. It all died down after that.”
Gavin’s Sky Garden sparked a public row after reports that it could cost the taxpayer in excess of €2m. A scaled-down version will feature in the €1.8m plan to revamp Fitzgerald Park in Cork.
The Avatar-inspired garden won gold at the Chelsea Flower Show but its signature pod, slung from a crane, has been in storage in Cork’s Showgrounds for months awaiting the green light for the park revamp.
However, health and safety issues will prevent the inclusion of a crane to suspend the flying pod, which is likely to be installed on stilts.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved