The Justice Files: Surviving a stalker

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Her friends told her she was lucky to still be alive.

And the woman whose last name will not be disclosed said she knows that.

Rachelle was a victim of a stalker.  He was a former boyfriend who became enraged after she broke off their relationship.  Despite numerous arrests and charges filed against Timothy Midgley, he wouldn’t stop.

“We met in 2014 at a ski resort in Utah,” said Rachel who has since moved out of state.  “That’s where we both worked.”

And for the next three years, Rachel and Midgley began a romantic relationship that she said looked promising.  Her two children saw Midgley as a father-figure.

“They eventually came to know that we were eventually going to get married,” she said.  “I  was engaged to him and after that it went downhill.”

There were allegations of infidelity which lead to bickering and fights.  She no longer wanted Midgley around.  Rachel claimed Midgley started abusing drugs and alcohol fueling her nightmare.

“A lot of abuse happened on both sides,” she said.  “I felt, he was using the gaslighting tactic of, ‘if you don’t do this for me, I’m going to make your life a living hell.’”

Court records showed she received graphic and  vulgar texts from Midgley and he left multiple  voice mail messages threatening her life.

An example was the following message Midgley left on Rachel’s phone: “That’s why I hope you’re (expletive) dead you fat (expletive).”

After advice from a police officer, she filed and was granted a stalking injunction against Midgley.

In 2018, Midgley’s faced charges of stalking.

Vulgar texts and voicemails like: “I want to punch your skanky low pathetic face” were part of the allegations listed in the charges.

Midgley was jailed and later accepted a plea deal where charges were dismissed but he was ordered to get counseling. 

Midgley was back on the streets and according to court records he continued to stalk Rachel sending similar graphic messages.  She said it was frightening and demoralizing.

“I (felt like) I wasn’t worth anything,” she said. “You know and I don’t want to cry about it because I’m (now) happy.  I went through a(n) eating disorder. I wouldn’t eat for days. I tried to kill myself.”

Midgley was jailed again and faced a second round of stalking charges.

In February, 2019 the judge suspended a prison term, gave him credit for time in jail and placed him on three years probation.

Three months later, Midgley was back in jail for stalking and faced a new charge of making death threats and stalking.

But after his release from jail he court records showed he went on the attack again and got a fourth and fifth stalking charge within a month of each other.

“He wanted me dead,” said Rachel. “It was horrible the things he would say to me.”

In late 2019, the hammer came down on Midgley.  He was handed a prison term for three of the charges that were combined.  Each carried a zero-to-five-years in prison.  One of the charges was to run consecutive to the other two.  Combined it mean he could serve up to ten-years maximum in prison.  But he could also be released at any time by the Utah Board of Pardons.

In late January, Midgley was up for his first parole hearing.  He appeared before a hearing officer in an attempt to be paroled.

He was apologetic.

“I am so sorry for my behavior,” Midgley told the hearing officer.  “I am so ashamed.  I am embarrassed of the language I used towards Ms. (name deleted).

Rachel listened in on the hearing which was provided through a video link.  She even verbally commented about her ordeal and the hardship it’s been for her.  But she also added more insight to ABC4 about Midgley’s apology.

“He’s just saying that to get out,” Rachel said.  “I’ve heard that apology one too many times.”

She recalled friends and family telling her she was lucky to be alive.  Rachel also agreed.

“I’m a walking miracle,” she said. “I shouldn’t be here.  Definitely a walking miracle to tell my story.”

Recently, the board of pardons denied Midgley’s release.  

“It means I’m safe for at least another year,” she said.

Why did it take five-stalking charges for Midgley to finally land in prison.  Greg Skordas an attorney and legal representative for Salt Lake’s Rape Recovery Center  and Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic said the following in a text: “Cops, prosecutors and judges are reluctant to hammer some guy when there was no physical contact.  Obviously these things lead to horrific consequences sometimes but sometimes that’s what it takes to get people’s attention.”

There are avenues for people who are involved in similar situation.  Non-profit groups like the YWCA, the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition and the state’s DCFS offer services.  To seek an injunction the state’s district courts also offer assistance.

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