A simple act of kindness can come back to haunt you — if you’re a music icon like Harry Styles, that is.
According to DailyMail.com, the Lights Up singer claims he was stalked by a homeless man after he bought the 26-year-old a meal because he “felt sorry for him.”
The 3-month long ordeal began when the former One Direction star saw Pablo Tarazaga-Orero sleeping in a bus stop outside his $3.78 million London home and offered to buy him food or a hotel room. The 25-year-old ended up buying the Spanish native food from a vegan cafe, and in return found himself being stalked by the man for months.
Tarazaga-Orero allegedly posted notes and money through Harry’s mailbox and followed the singer on his runs and visits to the bar. The stalking spiraled out of control when Tarazaga-Orero lunged at the star and tried to grab him while he was jogging through Regent’s Park in May.
The British crooner reported the man to the police in June after Tarazago-Orero’s “erratic and frightening behavior” left him feeling unsafe in his own home.
District Judge Nigel Dean found the man guilty of stalking on Monday, and praised the Dunkirk actor for stopping “out of the goodness of his heart” and attempting to help a man who was “down on his luck.” The judge also said it was clear the defendant had been staying at the bus stop outside the singer’s home because “he knew that Mr. Styles lived close by.”
Harry, for his part, appeared in Hendon Magistrates’ Court from behind a screen, saying he “felt sorry” for the man after spotting him sleeping outside in the rain. He explained:
“I first became aware of him in March. I thought it was sad that someone so young was sleeping rough at a bus stop when it was cold. I pulled up in my car next to the bus stop and offered him some money so he could get a hotel or some food.”
From that point on, Harry said he’d see the man outside his home practically every day — even after he was warned by police officers. He claimed he was “certain” he was being followed after he started seeing Tarazaga-Orero at his local pub, The Spaniard’s Inn.
Harry’s security team reportedly called homeless charities to arrange shelter for the man, but Tarazaga-Orero apparently refused offers for help.
The singer’s neighbor, Rafael Krezeszewsky, told the court Tarazaga-Orero once told him he was “the soulmate of Harry Styles” and was “spiritually protecting him.”
Tarazaga-Orero, in return, made a bizarre claim against Harry, allegedly telling his attorney the crooner offered him money to have “fun” in a hotel on their first meeting — a claim Harry vehemently denied.
When defense lawyer Jenni Dempster QC asked the star if he suggested “both of you could have gone to a hotel to have fun,” Harry replied, “I did not,” before adding:
“He told me that he couldn’t accept the money for religious reasons. I asked him if he needed any food, he asked for some edamame beans. I stopped at a vegan cafe, I bought two sandwiches, two salads, two muffins all heated then took them to Pablo. I passed him the bag of food through the car window at which point he asked me if I wanted to go to a restaurant to eat with him… I told him I was on my way to work. I found it a little odd. His facial expression made me feel a little uneasy. It was like a smirk… Until that point, I never felt unsafe or uneasy in my own home.”
After cutting ties with the man per the suggestions of his security team, Harry continued to spot Tarazaga-Orero “incredibly often (…) almost every day.”
He told the court he saw the man at the bus stop 50 yards from his home “at least five days a week” from then on, adding:
“He had hung some pictures on the wall at some point, there was always a trace of the fact that he had been there or he was returning at some point soon.”
In April, the man posted change valuing £49.95 (about $62.73) through the musician’s mailbox. Styles told the judge:
“I never really encountered this kind of behaviour before. I’ve employed a night guard. I continue to lock my bedroom door at night.”
Harry also said he started to periodically check for “weak spots” in his home.
Judge Dean ended up siding with the musican, whom he called a “reliable and credible witness,” adding:
“It seemed to me that he was doing his best to assist the court. I didn’t find any major inconsistencies or shortcomings in relation to his evidence… Mr. Styles felt sorry for a young man who he saw to be living without a home during the winter when it was cold and raining very heavily and having first noticed him he then out of [the] goodness of his heart stopped and offered to fund the defendant’s hotel accommodation that evening. I found the suggestion that Mr. Styles also, the suggestion that he would accompany the defendant for fun to be completely incredible… These were honest, well intended, good intentions from somebody who was trying to help another for whom he felt sorry and who he thought was down on his luck… He knew perfectly well that what he was doing at that stage amounted to harassment of Mr, Styles. I’m quite satisfied that this behavior had the effect of harassing Mr. Styles.”
Good call, your honor!
The sentencing will take place at a later time. Meanwhile, Tarazaga-Orero was released on conditional bail.
[Image via WENN]