A federal judge has sentenced Taylor Swift’s stalker to a 30-month prison sentence after a guilty plea.
Texas native Eric Swarbrick pled guilty to stalking Swift and sending threatening letters to her label at the time, Big Machine Records. The sentence includes three years of supervised release, according to an agreement reached in 2019.
Swarbrick sent at least 30 letters and emails to Big Machine Records. Those letters became increasingly violent and sexual towards Swift. After receiving no response, Swarbrick then drove from his home in Austin, TX, to Nashville to deliver more letters. He wandered around the record label halls and was eventually arrested by Nashville Police on August 2nd.
Even after he was released, Swarbrick continued his stalker behavior, expressing a desire to rape and kill Taylor Swift.
In 2019, Swift shared with the world how she lived in constant fear during an interview with Elle. “My fear of violence has continued into my personal life. I carry QuikClot army grade bandage dressing, which is for gunshot or stab wounds,” she said in that interview.
“Websites and tabloids have taken it upon themselves to post every home address I’ve ever had online. You get enough stalkers trying to break into your house and you kind of start prepping for bad things.”
Swift became so paranoid of her stalker that she employed facial recognition technology at her concerts. In 2018, it was revealed that her security team often employed the technology to keep tabs on her known stalkers. The technology worked by taking photos of every attendee and cross-referencing those photos with a list of Taylor Swift’s stalkers known to police.
The technology captured everyone who stopped at a kiosk showing rehearsal clips from her May 18th Rose Bowl show. Unbeknownst to fans, the kiosk’s hidden cameras captured their faces as they watched the screen’s content before them.
“Everybody who went by would stop and stare at it, and the software would start working,” says Mike Downing, the Chief Security Officer of Oak View Group. They’re an advisory board for concert venues like Madison Square Garden.
Facial recognition technology has drawn criticism from groups like Fight for the Future. Meanwhile, Ticketmaster is investing in the technology through partnerships with startups like Blink Identity.
Either way, Taylor Swift won’t have to worry about this particular stalker for a couple of years. Swarbrick was arrested several times and released and continued to make threatening statements toward the pop star.