Top British actors David Morrissey and Tara Fitzgerald star in a gripping new thriller based on a real life crime.
U Be Dead tells the story of disturbed serial stalker Maria Marchese. She was sentenced to nine years in prison for the sustained intimidation of a London doctor, his family and even the lawyer who prosecuted her.
The Metropolitan Police called it “one of the worst cases of stalking we have ever had to investigate” and the drama is told with the help of the people who suffered at the hands of Marchese.
Dr Jan Falkowski (Morrissey) and his fiancée Debbie Pemberton (Fitzgerald) could think of no-one who would want to stalk them with threatening texts and phone calls.
Even when the stalker professed to being in love with Jan, they refused to take her increasingly manic behaviour seriously.
That is until she broke into their houseboat and opened the gas taps, threatened Jan’s family and attempted to cancel their wedding.
Jan and Debbie’s relationship began to suffer under the strain. In fear for their lives, they moved to an address nobody, including their parents, knew.
In an attempt to flush the stalker out, Jan and Debbie eventually staged a fake wedding. Although Jan had now fallen in love with a younger woman, Bethan Ancell (Griffiths), he agreed to go through with the charade, shadowed by plain clothes officers.
Warning texts and phone calls rained down on everyone connected to the wedding and Debbie was told to “prepare your funeral, not your wedding.”
Finally, the police began to close in. As a final text arrived - “U BE DEAD” - they surrounded the phone box it was sent from and arrested the woman who had been stalking Jan Falkowski for two years.
Maria Marchese was an unlikely stalker who had only met Jan a handful of times through a patient of his.
After initially denying she was guilty of harassing Jan, she then claimed to be texting him because he had raped her. And she had DNA evidence to prove it.
Jan’s nightmare had just got much, much worse. The DNA evidence on Marchese’s underwear was compelling.
As a rape suspect he was suspended from his psychiatric practice and, if found guilty, could be jailed for life. An extraordinary trial followed which fascinated the media and public alike.
U Be Dead co-stars Lucy Griffiths (Robin Hood) and Monica Dolan (Wallis & Edward, The History of Mr Polly, Poirot).
The film is produced by Darlow Smithson (Touching the Void, Clapham Junction and the forthcoming The Diary of Anne Frank) for ITV1.
Capped from NZ TV1 5 July 2009
Width 688 pixels
Height 432 pixels
Bit Rate 128kbps
Audio format MPEG Layer-3
Frame rate 25 frames/second
Data rate 138kbps
Video sample size 12 bit
Video compression DivX
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