A man accused of stalking Taylor Swift is in federal custody.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Eric Swarbrick, 26, from Austin, Texas, has been arrested and charged with “interstate stalking” and “sending interstate communications with the intent to threaten.” In January of this year, Big Machine Label Group in Nashville started getting letters, allegedly from Swarbrick, asking the record company’s CEO Scott Borchetta to introduce him to BMLG client Swift. In total, at least 40 letters and emails were sent, with the correspondence becoming “increasingly violent and sexual in nature.”
Officials say Swarbrick drove from Texas to Nashville on three occasions to personally deliver the letters to the company, and on Aug. 2 he was arrested there by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. However, even after being released from custody, he allegedly continued his stalking behavior, sending 13 more threatening letters or emails before the end of the month. In the letters, “Swarbrick expressed his desire to rape and kill” Swift, officials say. In one, he allegedly threatened he would “kill himself in front of “Borchetta and his staff,” and in another he claimed that he had been “wandering around the offices of BMLG.”
Swarbrick is currently being detained in Travis County, Texas, and will later be transferred to Tennessee. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
“Too often, we have seen the consequences of ignoring signs of escalating violent behavior by some individuals,” said U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee in the release. “The attention given to this matter by our law enforcement partners and the resulting federal charges we have brought should serve to prevent a future tragic event.”
Celebrities having so-called obsessed fans isn’t new — John Lennon was murdered by one in 1980 — but Swift has had a significant number troubles from people whose behavior doesn’t classify them as fans. It classifies them as threats. In a span of a two weeks this past April, a Kansas man was sentenced to 10 years probation for threatening to kill her, followed by a Connecticut man robbing a bank in an attempt to impress her (driving from Connecticut to her beach house in Rhode Island to throw money on her lawn), and a transient tried to scale the wall of her Beverly Hills home. Those aren’t isolated events either. In 2013, a man was arrested and charged with trespassing on the Rhode Island property, and then later showed up at her NYC apartment — and was arrested again. Another stalker made it to the hallway outside the door of her NYC apartment last year.
And if we’re talking about unwanted attention from men she doesn’t know, we should also remind you that Swift faced off in court — and won — against DJ David Mueller, whom she sued for groping her at a 2013 meet-and-greet.
Despite this, Swift continues to excel onstage — and her personal life is thriving. While she continues to stay mum about her longterm relationship with actor Joe Alwyn, he finally broke his silence about her in a new interview — though didn’t say much. “I’m aware people want to know about that side of things,” he says in the new British Vogue. “I think we have been successfully very private and that has now sunk in for people… but I really prefer to talk about work.”
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