Ministry of Justice adviser has slammed the “abysmal victim care” she has received after being forced to attend court for the sentencing of a man who filmed her naked in a hotel bed.
Emily Hunt OBE campaigned for five years to bring Christopher Killick to justice after she woke up “naked and terrified” next to him at an east London hotel, fearing she had been drugged and raped.
Eventually he was charged with and convicted of voyeurism in 2020 over a video he had taken without her consent.
Killick, 43, was back in the dock on Thursday at Snaresbrook crown court, after admitting breaching a restraining order preventing him from contacting Ms Hunt.
Ms Hunt says the breach of the restraining order in 2021 was “utterly terrifying” as she set out the devastating impact a “fixated” Killick has had on her life.
And in a series of highly-critical Twitter posts ahead of the court hearing, Ms Hunt said she had been told she could only speak to the prosecutor by attending court in person, against her wishes and the advice of stalking experts.
“This is abysmal victim care”, she said. “There are any number of ways the prosecutor could have spoken to me beforehand – before today or remotely today – that would not involve me (and my supporters) having to go to court.
“It is also clear from speaking with the CPS yesterday that I absolutely do have to speak with the prosecutor for this case: they seem to not have gripped the impact of the offending – or even the nature of it. If I don’t go, I have no faith in their ability to present the facts.
“Victims deserve better than this.”
Ms Hunt, who was awarded an OBE for her campaigning work and signed up as an independent adviser to the Ministry of Justice on rape and sexual offences in 2021, was told on Thursday that she could watch the court hearing remotely and could speak to the prosecutor over a link.
Posting again just before the hearing, she wrote: “I agreed to do the remote option, however the police are now saying that if I remote view the hearing from a police building that I cannot have my support in the room with me, and that I can essentially only be supported IF I GO TO COURT. (Kafka has nothing on me….).”
Ms Hunt said she ultimately decided to attend court, but added: “This. Is. Insane. Victims shouldn’t have to manage the system.”
To compound matters, the remote link she was watching on from within the courthouse failed midway through the hearing, just as her victim impact statement was about to be read.
Ms Hunt waived her right to anonymity in her original campaign for justice, after she woke up naked next to Killick at the five-star Town Hall Hotel in east London with no idea how she got there.
She later discovered Killick had filmed her naked without her consent.
The Crown Prosecution Service decided not to bring a rape charge against Killick as they said there was insufficient evidence.
She was also told filming someone naked without their consent was not illegal, but she successfully campaigned for a voyeurism charge to be brought.
In her victim impact statement on Thursday, Ms Hunt said: “He has devastated and has ruined my life, and continues to do so over and over again.”
She says she lives in fear of Killick turning up unannounced at her home and has at times struggled to leave the house for weeks.
Describing Killick as “fixated, obsessive”, and his offending “escalating”, Ms Hunt told the court: “I’m terrified.”
Killick was banned from making contact with Ms Hunt during the original criminal case, but was admonished by police after he set up a new Twitter account to send her messages before the court process had ended.
In July 2021, using his own name, Killick sent a tweet simply with Ms Hunt’s name, followed by a series of further messages commenting on her campaigning work and her descriptions of what happened to her.
In his police interview, Killick claimed he was “defending himself” in the posts, in which had mentioned Ms Hunt’s mental health struggles following the 2015 incident.
She told the court her post traumatic stress disorder had been triggered by Killick’s tweets, saying: “It was a horrible time, affecting my career, personal life, and family.
“He knew exactly what he was doing because he had written about it on Twitter, about my difficulties with PTSD. He must have known what impact pushing back into my life in such an intrusive way would have.”
She added: “It happened repeatedly, and it’s horrific.”
Commenting on Ms Hunt’s experience, London Victims’ Commissioner Claire Waxman said: “I wish what (she) had been through the last few weeks was unique. It’s not.
“She has battled the fragmented justice process that fails to consider victims needs and views.
“If a victim care hub was in place, she would not have not endured any of this chaos. It’s a sham.”
Killick initially pleaded not guilty to breaching the restraining order, and was taken into custody in January after posting further tweets directed at Ms Hunt.
Sentencing Killick, who lives in Lancaster in Lancashire, Judge Noel Casey said his Twitter messages had been “argumentative” rather than abusive, revisiting the original criminal case.
“Repeatedly they name the victim by her full name, in a large number of those tweets”, he said.
“One must have satisfied the intention was to make contact with the victim herself, drawing her attention to the defendant’s tweets, thereby clearly breaching the restraining order.”
He imposed a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 35 days of rehabilitation and 160 hours of community service.
The court heard Killick, who stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in the 2021 Hartlepool by-election, had tried to take up campaigning work for his local MP, but had been rejected.
In a letter to the court, Kilick said the last two months in prison had been a “wake-up call”, adding: “I’m extremely sorry for posting these tweets, I will not do it again.”
Killick continues to be subject to an indefinite restraining order which was extended on Thursday to block him from contacting Ms Hunt on personal blogs as well as in person and on social media.