A horrified woman told how she discovered her creepy ex-boyfriend had sneaked into her house while she was out and set up home – in her LOFT.
Pretty Marie Wright, 28, had been dating handsome Alexander Cooper, 27, for five months when she asked him to move out to give her some space.
But within days she noticed food and bedding was going missing and discovered mucky fingerprints all over their attic door hatch.
Frightened Marie – who was still dating Cooper – leaned on him for support and even sent him into the loft to check for burglars armed with a crow bar.
But Marie became suspicious of Cooper after money went missing from her account and her housemate Sarah, 29, decided to double check the loft herself.
The horrified pair discovered a make-shift bed with blankets and cushions from their beds and sofa, as well as food wrappers – and a bag of Cooper’s clothes.
Police confronted Cooper and he admitted a string of thefts and frauds – using her card to take out pay day loans – and was sentenced to 16 months in prison last month (July).
Marie – who reckons Cooper was living in her loft for more than TWO WEEKS – said: “I just felt sick when I found out. It was like a horror movie.
“As soon as I got home after I found out he was ringing my phone but I couldn’t touch it. I was so scared. I never spoke to him again.
“As far as we can work out he was waiting until we went to work, coming in and going round the house, and then waiting until we came home from work and going up into the loft and staying there.
“It felt like it was all my fault because I trusted him and he was my boyfriend – even though I know it wasn’t.
“I thought I really knew him and knew everything about him, but actually he had this whole other side or life.
“It could have turned out far worse, so I suppose I’m thankful it didn’t.
“If we hadn’t found him, how long would he have stayed there? Would he have got violent?
“You can’t do this to people. If he had wanted money I would have given him money if he asked.
“He didn’t need to do this. It is my life he has messed with at the end of the day.”
Sales manager Marie met Cooper through a friend more than ten years ago but they lost touch until they spotted each other on Plenty of Fish in May last year.
Smitten Marie said he seemed “totally normal” and they started dating, with Cooper regularly sending her cute text messages and the pair soon fell in love.
“He would say really sweet things like I was beautiful – of course it makes my skin crawl to think of it now,” said Marie.
But problems began when she asked him to stay with her at her home in Sheffield for a week, while her housemate Sarah Walton, 29, was on holiday – and he didn’t leave.
After a few weeks she asked him to “give her some space” and he promised to go to his dad’s for a while in mid-October.
But Marie and her housemate soon noticed that a pizza had gone missing from their freezer – as well as loo roll and packets of cigarettes.
The suspicious pair – who initially blamed each other – set ‘traps’ around the house, like tape across cupboard doors.
They were terrified when they discovered they had been disturbed while they were at work, and called in police who found mucky fingerprints all over the door to their loft.
But the girls said officers didn’t search the back of the loft – obscured by a boiler – and simply advised them to change the locks.
“We lined up the toilet roll and would find that some of it had been used,” Marie said.
“Initially we sort of laughed it off, but as soon as we told people about it we realised how serious it was – someone had been in our house and it was scary.”
Worried Marie said Cooper even popped round and made a show of searching the attic – armed with a crow bar – before telling the girls there was nothing up there.
But the next day Marie discovered someone had taken three pay day loans worth £450 out in her name, as well as around £200 in cash, on November 1.
She convinced herself it was “the stranger in the loft” and told police – who took statements from Marie, with Cooper by her side.
However Sarah was suspicious and while Marie was dropping Cooper off at his dad’s the next day, she sent her brother into the attic where he found the makeshift bedroom.
They discovered a bed made from covers and blankets from their beds, as well as cushions from their sofas, food wrappers and discarded cigarettes.
“He had been texting me from up there, telling me he couldn’t answer phone calls because his phone was broken – actually it was because he was in the loft,” said Sarah.
“I was shaking. I couldn’t believe it.
“It was like Survivor up in the loft. He had made a bed out of quilts and our blankets and pillows off the settee. It was so weird.
“There were food wrappers and fag ash everywhere, and I found a stash of his dirty clothes hidden in my room. They had been there so long they smelled so bad.
“There was also a Stanley knife.”
The pair phoned police, and Marie said Cooper confessed to officers his part in the whole ordeal.
He was jailed for a total of 16 months after he pleaded guilty to 12 counts of fraud, three of theft, and one of perverting the course of justice, at Sheffield Crown Court on July 17.
Five of the charges relate to Marie.
“I’m definitely going to be a little more cautious when I meet people now,” said Marie.
“I just didn’t know what to think [at the time], and I still don’t, but I’m just glad he is where he is.”