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Diarmuid's sting operation uprooted stalker

TV GARDENER Diarmuid Gavin was forced to organise a sting operation with co-presenter Alan Titchmarsh after a fan broke into his home and told his wife she loved him.

The Irish presenter spoke of his fear when he was followed for months by the woman, who frequently showed up on the set of his gardening shows.

He revealed that BBC bosses hired a private detective as the woman's behaviour became increasingly erratic.

However, her antics stopped only when Diarmuid (47) confronted her with Alan Titchmarsh at a flower show where he was co-presenting BBC's Gardeners' World.



pregnant

"I've had some strange fans over the years, but she was a proper stalker," the Dublin man said. "She was always there.

"It got so bad I was scared I'd arrive on set one day and someone would say: 'This is your new producer' or I'd go home and find her having tea with my wife."

He explained that eventually the woman broke into his house. "My wife, Justine, was there and she was pregnant.

"This woman said to her: 'I'm in love with your husband', and my wife said: 'In that case you need to see a doctor'. In the end, the BBC hired a detective and we organised a bit of a sting operation at a flower show.

"Alan, me and some BBC producers tried to lure her in. She always positioned herself right in front of the camera.

"Once she was there and we had her. It all died down after that."

Diarmuid, who is currently appearing on RTE's I Want A Garden, wasn't always a success. His talent landed him a place at the College of Amenity Horticulture in Dublin's Botanic Gardens; however, he was left homeless aged 30 when his unconventional gardening business failed.

Despite this setback, his career eventually took off in 1996 when he was featured at the Chelsea Flower Show.

The father-of-one has since appeared on Home Front in the Garden, This Morning and Diarmuid's Big Adventure.

"I was very intimidated at first. It was scary but unbelievable at the same time," he admitted. "I always had faith something good would happen, though I never once thought I'd become a TV gardener. That was never on the radar."

hnews@herald.ie


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