My online dating terror: Spurned internet lover slashed my horse and plotted to torture me

Featured Image: Sebastiano Mauro with Nathalie Kelderman

When Nathalie ­Kelderman signed up to an online dating site she was looking for love, romance and even marriage.

And with as many as one in five lasting relationships now beginning online, she thought there was little to be worried about.

But Nathalie was to learn the hard way that what can look like a match made in heaven on screen, can just as quickly turn into a horrific nightmare.

In March this year, Sebastiano Mauro, 43, who she had dated for just five months, was jailed for five years after slashing Nathalie’s prized horse Jessie and plotting to inflict grievous bodily harm on her too.

“Dating sites are great at telling you how they can help you find a lasting relationship or even marriage – but they don’t highlight the dangers,” says Nathalie, 37, from St ­Albans, Herts.

“I was sucked into an abusive relationship because of internet dating.”

In October 2010, water company shift manager Nathalie signed up to after her eight-year relationship floundered and she found herself struggling to meet new people.

“Once you reach a certain age, it just gets harder to date,” says Nathalie.

“I thought online dating was the answer – you’re ­instantly connected with other singles.”

While her first forays into finding a ­potential suitor led nowhere, in December 2010 Nathalie was messaged through her Match account by Sebastiano Mauro, a ­dark-haired Italian who quickly charmed her with his sense of humour.

“I’d put on my profile that I preferred men with short hair,” she says. “Seb had long, black locks and the first time he got in touch he joked, ‘how short is short?’

“He made me laugh, and it showed that he’d actually paid attention to my profile.”

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