Sickos bombard Jo with hate-filled texts
"There's a hole in the country waiting for you."
That was one of the chilling text messages Jo Jordan received when she returned from holiday abroad last week. The star of TV3's reality show Dublin Wives has become the victim of an ugly harassment text message campaign by anonymous person or persons.
Over the last year she has been sent threatening messages from five different numbers all of them on unregistered SIM cards bought in phone shops in the Dublin area. Jo had her service provider Meteor block all the numbers. When she returned from Miami last Monday, however, there was a new set of threatening messages waiting for her when she switched on her phone.
There was also a sickening reference to a former boyfriend of Jo's, a guard who was killed on duty in 2000.
"I was absolutely devastated," Jo told me. "He just went to work one night and never came home."
One part of the text is a reference to the story Jo told me in an interview with the Sunday Independent last December where she recounted losing her virginity in a nightclub in Fleet Street in inner city Dublin when she was 15, and becoming pregnant with son Gavin, who is now 22.
A terrified Jo immediately contacted the gardai last Monday. They were able to trace the unregistered SIM cards to an area in Dublin.
"The guards at Ballymun station have traced the SIM card to Santry, and are taking this very seriously," Jo told me. "They should change the law on SIM cards, I can't believe that people can just go into a shop and buy a SIM card and send out sick messages. The guards are looking at every angle on this."
"An Garda Siochana liaise closely with service providers in identifying suspects in such investigations," a garda spokesman said.
"An Garda Siochana investigate thoroughly all complaints of harassment."
Cyber-bullying and texting is now becoming a major issue with the proliferation of mobile communications and social media.
"How can someone so sick harass me by just buying an unregistered SIM card in a shop? I can't cope," Jo added.
"How can they get away with it? I was sobbing all night on the phone to the police, worried I was going to be killed. These people are sick. I couldn't get to sleep with the worry – and thinking crazy thoughts . . . that Jill Dando was stalked before she was murdered," Jo said, referring to the BBC presenter gunned down on the doorstep of her home in 1999.
At the moment, gardai don't know who "they" are. All Jo knows for certain is that the texts started when it was announced that she would take part in Dublin Wives last April. "Ya scumbag. Ya haven't a pot to piss in. Why don't you try to be a mother for a change? Ur a money-mad prostitute," read one text.
Another text alluded to the fact that she and Lisa Murphy – who lives with Jo in Castleknock – will soon launch their own upmarket make-up range, Lady Jo Li.
"U bringing out a make up range? It looks like your make up was put on with a shotgun. Would you not bring out a make up range for plastic surgeon victims?"
"This sick person or persons are obsessed with me. It's sick. The Government should change the law on unregistered SIM cards," Jo told me last week.
"I was physically ill getting these messages. I am falling to pieces here. I'm depressed and sick to my stomach over all this. I have had panic attacks and I'm in a desperate state.
"I haven't been able to eat or think straight because of all these twisted messages. I've been very low, depressed.
"I am a grown woman, but I can understand now how a teenager could be pushed to suicide receiving these kind of messages," Jo said in reference to the recent sad deaths of several young people in Ireland due to harassment online.
Jo, 40, who was born Jo Brogan and grew up in Ballymum before becoming an overnight sensation in Dublin Wives, says the bullying could force her to leave Ireland.
"I'd go to America. I can't take much more of this," she said. "The messages have stopped for now because Meteor blocked the bastards, but in another few weeks I know they'll be back with a different number and another set of disgusting abuse directed at me day and night."