Obsessed accountant faces jail after stalking professor

Obsessed accountant, 40, who demanded a leading professor become her lover, took photos of him at the gym and booked a holiday to follow him to Lanzarote faces jail for stalking

  • Zhaoyan Li became infatuated with Professor Alex Edmans after a careers event
  • Li gatecrashed his workouts and ‘appeared from the shadows’ to take pictures
  • She bombarded him with calls, emails text messages and WhatsApps
  • Professor Edmans saved her contact details under ‘Dirty Pervert’ 

Zhaoyan Li (pictured above) has bombarded Professor Alex Edmans with calls emails and messages

An obsessive accountant who demanded a leading professor become her lover and mentor faces jail for stalking.

Zhaoyan Li became infatuated with Professor Alex Edmans after she heard him speak at a careers event.

The 40-year-old then started to attend Professor Edmans’ church and even gate-crashed his fitness classes, ‘appearing from the shadows’ when a group picture needed to be taken.

She bombarded him with texts, calls and emails, which eventually led to Professor Edmans saving her contact details under the name ‘Dirty Pervert’. She also booked a trip to the same destination as Professor Edmans so that she could continue to follow him.

Oxford-educated Professor Edmans, 38, who has spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos and testified to Parliament was eventually too distressed to answer his office phone and quit regular activities.

Li, who currently lives in the Canary Wharf area of London, was convicted of stalking Professor Edmans between February 1, 2017 and September 13, this year.

During the hearing Li told the City of London Magistrates Court she may kill herself if convicted. She is set to be sentenced at the Old Bailey at a later date.

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Professor Alex Edmans (pictured above) had saved Li’s number under ‘Dirty Pervert’

From behind a screen Professor Edmans told the court that Li enjoyed taking photographs of him working out at a Hyde Park boot camp fitness club and groped his biceps after a class.

She began stalking him after he spoke at accountancy giants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) ‘Finding Purpose In Your Career’ seminar early last year.

‘She said she wanted to become a partner at PwC, which was strange because she wasn’t even a trainee,’ he explained.

 Zhaoyan Li told the City of London Magistrates’ Court (pictured above) that she might kill herself if she is convicted

‘She asked me if I was happy to have dinner with her because she had some questions about her career and I told her I had to go home.

‘I went to Marks & Spencer’s and when I left she was waiting for me outside and followed me on the westbound tube even though she lived in the opposite direction and sat next to me.’

Li then joined a Surrey getaway hosted by Professor Edmans’ All Souls Church breakfast club.

Zhaoyan Li is set to be sentenced at the Old Bailey (pictured above) at a later date 

‘Every mealtime she’d sit next to me and try to talk to me, even if I was talking to other people and this was annoying. She was trying to encroach on me and continually interrupting conversations I was having.’

The professor admits he eventually resorted to getting physical. ‘I squeezed the pressure points on her knee to cause a bit of pain.’

However, Li claims she took this under-the-table knee squeeze as a ‘come on’ of a sexual nature.

Li started turning up at the London Business School (pictured above) in order to use the internal phones

Professor Edmans was bombarded with WhatsApp and Facebook messages from Li, who suddenly appeared at his workout class when a picture needed to be taken.

‘Out from the shadows Ms Li jumped up and said: ‘I’ll take the group photo.’ She must have been on the side-lines watching.

‘She started touching my biceps, which was not solicited and then started coming to the boot camp, not to participate, but to take photos, presumably of me working out.

‘I blocked her on Facebook, but then she contacted me through other means, I blocked her on WhatsApp and saved her as ‘Dirty Pervert.’

‘She wanted to be in a relationship with me. It was as if she thought she had the right to have a relationship with me.’

In one message Li wrote: ‘I want a Mr. Right who loves me and cares about my feelings.’

Eventually All Souls Church banned her and Professor Edmans reported her to the police, who gave Li an official warning in January.

‘She then started coming to the London Business School campus and using the internal phone and called me on February 14 to say: ‘Happy Valentines Day.’

‘Normal things like checking emails filled me with horror and dread and each time I saw her number my heart sank because this ordeal was continuing.’

Eventually a panic alarm was fitted at the professor’s office and he quit the boot camp and church breakfast club after Li booked herself on their Canary Islands vacation.

‘I thought: ‘There’s no getting away from her if she turns up in Lanzarote for the entire eight days.’

Li constantly tried to delay and adjourn the trial and told the magistrates: ‘If I get a criminal record I may commit suicide.’ 


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