A man who threatened to rape and kill Taylor Swift will be spending a significant chunk of time behind bars. A federal judge sentenced Eric Swarbrick to 30 months in prison for stalking the Folklore singer and barraging her with increasingly violent and sexual threats. He was first arrested by Nashville police in 2018 and pled guilty to stalking the pop star last year.
Swift’s label, Big Machine Records, received at least 40 letters and emails from Swarbrick over the course of 2018, asking CEO Scott Borchetta to introduce him to the singer. According to Forbes, he drove from his home in Austin, Texas, to Nashville, Tennessee, at least three times to deliver the letters himself, wandering the halls of Big Machine.
That’s where Swarbrick was arrested by Nashville PD on August 2, 2018, and subsequently charged with interstate stalking and sending threatening communications to Swift and her label. But after he was released from custody, Swarbrick kept at it, contacting Big Machine and threatening to kill himself in front of Borchetta and his staff, as one grisly example.
The terms of Swarbrick’s sentence were agreed upon in a plea deal the stalker took in 2019, but justice was officially served in Nashville on Wednesday. After his two-and-a-half years behind bars, the Texan man will be subject to three additional years of supervised release.
Swift and the people who care about her can likely breathe a little easier today, knowing Swarbrick will be in prison for a while. But this particular case is a jarring example of the frankly terrifying violent threats that famous people endure on a regular basis. Swift penned an essay for Elle last year addressing the stress this inflicts:
“My fear of violence has continued into my personal life. I carry QuikClot army grade bandage dressing, which is for gunshot or stab wounds. Websites and tabloids have taken it upon themselves to post every home address I’ve ever had online. You get enough stalkers trying to break into your house and you kind of start prepping for bad things,” the pop star wrote.
Swarbrick is just one guy, Swift is one of the biggest stars in the world, and there are lots of other evil folks out there who’d wish her harm, unfortunately. In 2018, for example, Mohammed Jaffar was sentenced to six months in prison and five years probation for stalking Swift and breaking into her home in New York City.
Prosecutors hope coming down hard on Swarbrick will deter future felons: "Too often, we have seen the consequences of ignoring signs of escalating violent behavior by some individuals," U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee said in a press release after Swift's stalker's arrest in 2018. "The attention given to this matter by our law enforcement partners and the resulting federal charges we have brought should serve to prevent a future tragic event."