Gwyneth Paltrow has told a Los Angeles court that she feared for her family’s safety after receiving dozens of letters from a man accused of stalking her for the last 17 years, various reports in the media are saying.

The Oscar-winning actress claims that Dante Michael Soiu, 67, has been sending disturbing letters ranging from “religious to pornographic to threatening” since 1999, but the case being heard by the court concerns letters sent from 2009 to 2015. Paltrow says that Soiu has sent her more than 70 messages, some of which discussed her death, as well as other items such as jewellery, clothes, and a cookbook.

Gwyneth PaltrowGwyneth Paltrow testified against a man accused of stalking her for 17 years

Deputy district attorney Wendy Segall said in her opening remarks on Tuesday (February 9th): “This is a case that has gone on for Ms. Paltrow for 17 years. Her sense of security has been shattered by this man.”

Soiu pleaded not guilty to one charge of stalking. Giving testimony in court, Paltrow read aloud from some of the letters, which made reference to “bowing to death” and being “hopelessly lost”. In another, he allegedly wrote: “I have a goal: to marry Gwyneth Paltrow and take care of her.”

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Asked by the prosecution whether the messages had frightened her, Paltrow replied “yes… because the communications completely defy logic. I've been dealing for 17 years with the communications from this man. I felt very upset by it… This has been a very long and very traumatic experience already.”

It is actually the second time that Soiu, of Columbus, Ohio, has been charged with stalking the actress. In 2000, he was found not guilty on the basis of insanity after again sending dozens of messages and gifts to the 43 year old actress. He spent three years in a psychiatric facility, but was re-arrested in 2015 after sending more letters to her.

Paltrow separated from her husband of more than ten years, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, in 2014 and filed for divorce the following year. They have two children together.

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