When famed sex therapist Amie Harwick died upon being dropped from the third-floor balcony of her Los Angeles home on February 15, 2020, it left the entire nation baffled to its core. That’s because, as carefully explored in CBS’ ’48 Hours: Justice for Amie Harwick,’ she’d been fearing for her life for quite some time prior owing to signs of stalking yet still couldn’t be saved. It turns out her killer was actually none other than the man she was afraid of, her ex-boyfriend Gareth Pursehouse — so now, if you simply wish to learn more about him, here’s what we know.
Who is Gareth Pursehouse?
It was reportedly back in the early 2010s when photographer as well as software engineer and developer Gareth first came across Amie during an event, just for them to soon begin dating. The truth is they were together for only around 18 months before the latter called it quits for alleged personal reasons, just to then immediately start expressing fears regarding his obsession. In fact, she went as far as to file not one but two restraining orders against him over the years, yet they expired in 2015 — nearly three years prior to her brief engagement with Drew Carey.
Amie had actually cited physical abuse in both filings, with the first one in 2011 specifying he’d choked, suffocated, and pushed her before kicking as well as punching her after many arguments. Then there was a similar claim near the mid-2010s, but even that didn’t work since he seemingly continued keeping tabs by following her every move, albeit from a bit of physical distance. As if that’s not enough, as time passed, strange comments were made on her Instagram posts from fake accounts, plus her home was broken into — both of which felt like the work of her ex to her.
That’s especially because Amie’s photo albums were stolen, and her laptop was wiped clean, something she deemed Gareth would target as he knew the personal aspect would affect her most. However, there was absolutely no evidence of his involvement, meaning nothing could legally be done, only for everything to turn upside down at an awards show on January 16, 2020. This former couple came face to face since he’d been hired to work there as a photographer, leading to an altercation of sorts from his side until she left in a visibly shaken-up state nearly an hour later.
According to reports, Amie then instantly checked her surveillance cameras, grabbed pepper spray, and shared her location with a close friend before detailing the ordeal in an e-mail to herself. “Tonight I felt very scared… It terrifies me that he’s been obsessed with me for nine years, thinks about me every day,” she’d penned. “… Gareth came up behind me and started screaming, ‘Why are you here, why are you here?’ He was sobbing, his head was in his hands, he was hyperventilating, he was distorting his face up and shaking violently.” She tried to calm him but to no avail.
In fact, as per Amie’s mother, “[Gareth] called her a bi**h and… told her she ruined his life. She just told me how afraid she was… She said, ‘Mom, I went into therapist mode. I just tried to calm him.'” Not more than a month later, she was found barely breathing at the bottom of her home at the 2000 block of Mound Street in Hollywood Hills, with her roommate asserting her ex had assaulted her. The fact there were signs of manual strangulation and her previously having confided in a friend that if something were to happen, Gareth would most definitely be responsible didn’t help him either.
Gareth Pursehouse is Now Behind Bars For Good
The official police statements to follow made it clear that Amie’s injuries were consistent with that of a major fall, and there was clear evidence of forced entry plus a struggle in her home above. Moreover, it was specified “a canvass of the area located further evidence of an intruder (suspect) entering the property and leaving after the murder,” just for him to then be identified as Gareth with the help of surveillance footage plus DNA. He was thus arrested for murder outside his Playa Del Rey home within 24 hours — at 4:30 pm the same day — and was booked into jail roughly 10 hours later.
Gareth’s bail was initially set at $2 million before being removed a few days later, yet he reportedly remained detained at the Los Angeles County Jail awaiting trial upon pleading not guilty. Though it’s imperative to note that owing to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other technicalities, he didn’t face court until the fall of 2023, where the prosecutors indicated his actions were premeditated.
On the flip side, the defense argued Gareth was battling “deep, debilitating depression” following the January incident and had thought the only way out was to talk to Amie on Valentine’s Day. They also added he’d actually planned to kill himself that night, so what happened to her was purely accidental, but to no avail — he was found guilty of first-degree murder in September. Therefore, today, at the age of 45, Gareth is serving his life sentence without the possibility of parole at the medium-security Wasco State Prison in Kern County, California.
Read More: Where are Amie Harwick’s Parents Now?