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IT WAS a conundrum Sherlock Holmes himself might have struggled to solve – the curious case of the heart-throb actor and the cyberstalker.
Someone, it seems, was snooping on the home of Benedict Cumberbatch (pictured), who plays a contemporary version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s sleuth in the hit TV series Sherlock, and documenting his actions in real time on a social networking site.
Old Harrovian Cumberbatch, 36, was so unnerved he considered calling the police. But after some detective work of his own, he apparently discovered the culprit was a star-struck neighbour.
“I’d say it was the strangest fan experience I’ve ever had. I had someone live-tweeting my movements while I was in my own house,” he told a newspaper.
“It was such a strange and a direct thing to see these Tweets saying what I was doing as I was doing them. I found it really worrying and, yes, of course, very hard to deal with.
“I worked out after a while who it was who was doing it, so when it came to it, I didn’t actually call in the police, but I was prepared to do so.”
Yesterday Cumberbatch was filming the hotly anticipated third series of Sherlock for BBC1 and was unavailable to comment.
The previous series ended in a cliffhanger that saw Holmes apparently fake his own death when he plummeted from a rooftop.
Earlier this week BBC1’s official Twitter account posted a picture of Cumberbatch and his co-star Martin Freeman, who plays Dr Watson, fooling around between read-throughs of the script.
Of the cyberstalking, Cumberbatch told the Daily Telegraph: “I’m not going to say any more about it. The person concerned knows now what I felt about it.
“I just found it very hard to come to terms with the idea that an individual could look into my house like this, and talk about me online, and think it is a perfectly okay thing to do.
“The sad thing is I don’t really have anonymity anymore in the UK as it has become like it is in America. Here I get stopped quite a lot now. Sometimes it is bearable and sometimes it isn’t.”
Cumberbatch’s home in north-west London was originally a one-bedroom flat which he bought for £475 000 (R6.5 million).
But after finding stardom he purchased the flat below in 2010 for £300 000, and despite objections from residents, gained planning permission to combine them into a spacious flat, estimated to be worth nearly £1m.
The actor has thousands of fans on social networking sites. But even some of his most ardent followers expressed shock that he was cyber-stalked in his own home.
One tweeted: ‘Yeah, that is a bit too much, that’s the last place he has to hide, it is different if he’s out and about in public.”
On Wednesday a spokesman for the actor said he knew nothing about the reported cyberstalking incident but suspected it had been “blown out of all proportion”.
Cumberbatch split from his university sweetheart and girlfriend of 12 years, actress Olivia Poulet, two years ago.
He has since been linked to art designer Anna Jones, model Katia Elizarova, and Lydia Hearst, daughter of kidnap victim and bank robber, Patty Hearst.
He has previously admitted he struggles with dating, saying: “I’m not confident in social situations.”
On Wednesday a source claimed that the person live-tweeting about Cumberbatch was a woman who has since apologised to him.
The source tweeted: “The person in question was asked to stop by a friend of Mr Cumberbatch and she agreed and apologised. Case was closed.” – Daily Mail