Woman Arrested for Plot to Kill Stephen Hawking

Illustration for article titled Woman Arrested for Plot to Kill Stephen Hawkingem/emem/em

An American woman was arrested this week for flooding Stephen Hawking’s email with death threats, then stalking him at an astronomy festival in the Canary Islands.

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The woman, a US citizen who lives in Norway, sent emails to Hawking telling him she would kill him at the Starmus Festival, a legendary astronomy conference that’s happening this week in Tenerife. According to El Pais, there were over 100 emails and tweets which threatened things like “I am very close to you. I am going to kill you.” The tweets appear to have been deleted, and it’s unclear how the messages were directed at Hawking since he doesn’t have an account.

Hawking’s daughter alerted Spanish police, who provided extra security during the festival, including escorting him onstage. Police arrested the woman on Wednesday at a hotel in Tenerife not far from where Hawking was speaking. She had an itinerary showing where Hawking would be each day, as well as detailed notes on his home and office and how she planned to end his life. A Spanish court issued a restraining order barring her from going within 500 meters of Hawking or sending him messages for eight months. Only eight months?

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[El Pais]

Alissa is the former urbanism editor at Gizmodo.

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DISCUSSION

Why would you want to kill Stephen Hawking? Seems like a weird target to focus on.

That being said, he seems like he’d be easy to kill. Assuming, you know, you didn’t telegraph your plan to the whole internet.