Unprotected: The Alina Sheykhet Story

(Alina Sheykhet. Picture Credit: bbc.co.uk)

I've written a few cases previously in a similar vein to this one and it always breaks my heart. No matter where you go, no matter what part of the world you live in or if you happen to be rich or poor, domestic violence and stalking continues to destroy the lives of victims and their families. 

I've written about both male and female stalkers, possessive partners, jealous ex lovers and written the line ''If I can't have you, nobody can'' once too often. Not only does my heart go out to people who have had their lives turned upside down because of someone's obsessive behaviour but I'm actually a survivor myself of stalking. 

I know what it's like to be terrified in your own home, to be scared of what's coming next, always having to look over your shoulder and having your life put on hold. My stalker would sit outside my house in the early hours of the morning, call my number at all times of the day, threaten to have me raped and killed. The situation was such a horrendous nightmare made worse by the fact that I worked at the same company as him and he was married. 

When I got the police involved they were useless. I had to pay for a restraining order and all it did was make him park his car up the hill from my house. I ended up having to leave my job and move house. I changed my car and got tinted windows and even today I don't use my full name on social media. I'm safe now but there will always be that part of me that feels I need to look over my shoulder just incase. 

I wanted to tell Alina's story in this post because I care about it and I noticed that no other bloggers had covered her case, all I could find was newspaper articles. I was drawn to this amazing, beautiful young woman who was so full of talent and light that it was important to tell people what happened to her and why Alina's Law must be passed to help protect other victims now and in the future.

So, I want to tell you about an amazing girl called Alina Sheykhet. Since a child she was bursting with talent and had dreams of becoming a professional dancer (she had won countless awards) but an injury in her early teens put a dampener on that dream when she had to have major surgery. Despite this draw back, Alina soldiered on and added singing and acting to her list of talents. Her singing was so good that she would often move family, friends and complete strangers to tears. Alina was destined for a very bright future.

Alina was originally born in Russia but moved over to the US with her Mum, Dad and brother when she was a toddler. Alina was very close with her family and doted on her niece Angelina, she was so excited for her birth that she was in the actual delivery room when she was born. She loved animals, children and had a strong desire to help people especially after what she went through with her injury. She decided to study Physical Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh.

With Alina's beautiful looks, bubbly personality and caring nature it was no wonder that she was very popular with the staff and pupils alike and she had many friends. She was dating a boy who played basketball at the University of Pittsburgh called Matthew Darby. At first Matthew (or as his friends called him, Matt) seemed like the perfect guy and they were both close but it didn't take long for Alina to discover that Matt have very much the green eyed monster about him. He was very jealous, controlling and had random mood swings. It all became a hassle and Alina finally couldn't take any more of it and ended the relationship. Matt wouldn't take no for an answer and continued to harass her. He was dropped by the basketball team for reasons that remain 'confidential'. 

As time went on it was becoming clearer and clearer that Matthew Darby was not a very nice individual indeed. One wonders what a beautiful, talented girl like Alina saw in him in the first place (she was way out of his league), maybe it was the bad boy image or he was just good at masking his real personality? 

Matthew had apparently tried to sexually assault a previous girlfriend and had troubles with the law, things weren't looking too good for him and he took his harassment of Alina further by blowing up her phone all night and day and climbing up the drainpipe of her apartment and breaking in. Luckily at that time she was safe but understandably shaken up by the incident. She filed a report with the police and he was arrested on the 26th of September 2017. He was charged with Felony Criminal Trespass. Alina then took out a restraining order against him but unfortunately like most restraining orders, it was just a piece of paper and didn't hold or guarantee Alina's safety. 

Matthew Darby had already proved that he was the type of individual who wouldn't take no for an answer and he wasn't going to let a piece of paper stop him from getting to Alina. It is unbelievable to me that a person as dangerous as him with his background and previous allegations was NOT monitored by an electronic tag. He was quite obviously a danger to women and had broken into Alina's apartment before.

As a result of not being monitored, on the 8th of October 2017, Matthew Darby once again broke into Alina's apartment and this time he heartlessly took her life in cold blood using a clawhammer and two knives he'd found in the basement before fleeing the scene. 

Alina's parents who had come by to pick her up to take part with them in a charity walk, had discovered their daughter's body covered in ''stab and chopping' wounds. Alina was deceased at the scene. It was a horrible nightmare that should have never occurred and to this day, Alina's parents, family and friends are trying to push for 'Alina's Law' which means that any offender who is deemed dangerous (and has a restraining order out against them) should be monitored at all times to fully help protect the victim. 


(Matthew Darby: Picture Credit: pittsburgh.cbs)

Hundreds of heartbroken people turned out to pay their repects at Alina's funeral. It was a beautiful service and the song 'Memory' (which was from one of Alina's favourite musicals, Cats) was sung in tribute to her. She was buried in Homewood Cemetery in Pittsburgh, her beautiful memorial stone is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and has a beautiful picture of Alina on it (I've included a picture below). 

As I mentioned earlier, this was a heartbreaking story and I pray that Alina's Law will be passed, it's so important and it's also what Alina would have wanted as she always wanted to make a difference and help people. She definitely left a huge mark on the people who knew her and anyone who knows her story. She will never be forgotten. 

Matthew Darby was sentenced to life in prison. Alina was only 20 years old when he took her life and he was just 21. 

RIP Alina.

 
(Alina's gravesite. Picture Credit: findagrave.com)


Please check out: Alina's Light 


Further reading & sources: 

Alina Article | The Tab

Alina's Family Article | Pittsburgh CBS

Matthew Darby Article | Trib Live

Alina Sheykhet Legacy

Alina Sheykhet | Find A Grave

Alina's Light 

Alina's Gravesite | Lamont At Large


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