'You can trust me,' stalking suspect tells Shania in court
Published Thursday, September 29, 2011 3:14PM EDT
A man accused of stalking Shania Twain interrupted video testimony by the Canadian country music star on Thursday and announced to the court that he was going to plead guilty.
Giovanni (John) Palumbo made the declaration during an appearance in a downtown Toronto court after being arrested earlier this year on accusations of stalking the singer.
Palumbo, a former surgeon in Ottawa, has a restraining order against him after sending Twain hundreds of letters and showing up at her Muskoka cottage.
Twain gave testimony via video link on Thursday, telling the court that the man's sudden appearances outside her property and personal gifts made her feel uncomfortable.
Twain added that she had to hire 24-hour security during a 2009 family gathering because Palumbo was repeatedly spotted parking nearby.
Near the end of Twain's testimony, Palumbo stood up and addressed the singer as Eileen, her real name, before asking the court to stop.
"Eilleen, you can trust me, I'm going to plead guilty," Palumbo said. "I've been offended too much, your honour."
Palumbo was arrested after allegedly breaching a 500-metre restraining order when he was seen at the Air Canada Centre in March while Twain was appearing during the Juno Awards.
Palumbo has been charged with criminal harassment, as well as three counts of failing to comply with a court order, and has remained behind bars since his arrest. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
"The only reason I am alive is you," Palumbo wrote in one of the hundreds of letters he sent to Twain.
Twain told the court that while she was not an "expert on fan psychology," she has seen a lot of fan mail and felt Palumbo was suicidal.
Some other excerpts from various letters, as read in court:
- "I would very much like to hear from you. You and I have so much of the truly important aspects of life in common."
- "I can be free any time. I will do anything and everything, for I truly need you. I honestly love you"
- "I know you're playing hard to get – no, scratch that, impossible to get – and that's because you know you're perfect and so am I."
- "I do believe that the more two people of the opposite sex have in common, the stronger will be their love for each other."
The trial is scheduled to last several days.
With files from CTV Toronto's Natalie Johnson and Omar Sachedina