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Catherine's stalker terror

July 29, 2004 - 9:39AM

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Accused stalker Dawnette Knight.
Picture: AP

Oscar-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones was driven to the brink of a nervous breakdown by highly graphic death threats in letters and phone calls apparently made by an obsessed fan.

Husband Michael Douglas has told a court threats by 32-year-old Dawnette Knight terrified his wife and made her hysterical.

"She was hysterical ... hysterical. She was fainting. She could not get any air. She showed all the signs of having a nervous breakdown," the actor said during testimony as a prosecution witness.

Douglas was testifying at a preliminary hearing to determine whether Knight should stand trial on charges of threatening and stalking Zeta-Jones for about 18 months.

Knight, an aspiring child psychologist, is charged with 25 counts of stalking and making criminal threats against Zeta-Jones, 34, who won an Oscar for best supporting actress as a murderous showgirl in Chicago.

According to court papers filed by Zeta-Jones's lawyers, Knight made numerous threats to kill and maim the actress, including a threat to have her "shredded to pieces like Sharon Tate," the actress murdered by the Manson gang.

The court papers also quoted Knight as saying she would cut Zeta-Jones "up like meat on a bone and feed her to the dogs".

Prosecutors said Knight made the threats because she was obsessed with Douglas and wrote letters to friends and relatives of the actor and his wife declaring that she wanted to kill Zeta-Jones so she could be with Douglas.

When she learned of Knight's arrest, Douglas said his wife broke down in tears of relief and happiness.

Knight has written a letter apologising to the couple and said she would never have harmed anyone.

- Reuters

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