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Zeta-Jones to face 'stalker'

Wednesday July 28, 2004

Catherine Zeta-Jones
The actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is due to come face-to-face in a court in Los Angeles today with a woman accused of stalking and threatening to kill her. Photograph: Kim Myung Jung Kim/PA

Catherine Zeta-Jones will today come face-to-face in a courtroom with the woman accused of stalking and threatening to kill her.

The Oscar winning actor, who first found fame in the TV series The Darling Buds of May, is to appear in the case of Dawnette Knight, an unemployed woman accused of 26 stalking offences between January 2003 and May 2004.

The Los Angeles superior court heard on Monday that Ms Knight, 32, allegedly made the threats in letters to the film star's father-in-law, the Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas.

Detective Teresa Garrett said an "obituary style" letter was sent to Kirk Douglas, father of Zeta-Jones's husband, Michael Douglas. The couple are expected to take the stand as a judge decides whether there is enough evidence to order Ms Knight to stand trial.

Detective Garrett told the court that, as the letters grew "more and more threatening", Zeta-Jones became "very upset" and "at a loss for words". "She was very afraid for herself and her family," the police officer said.

Police also said two death threats against Zeta-Jones were phoned into a hotel in Bermuda in which Michael Douglas had a financial interest.

Ms Knight, who was arrested on June 3, is in custody on bail of £600,000. If convicted, she faces a maximum of 19 years in jail.

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