A celebrity Hollywood therapist who died after an apparent fall from a three-story balcony had an expired restraining order against an ex-boyfriend suspected of killing her, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Gareth Pursehouse, 41, was arrested on suspicion of killing 38-year-old Amie Harwick, who was found outside her Hollywood Hills home suffering from grave injuries early Saturday morning, LAPD said in a news release.
Harwick had “expressed fear” about her former boyfriend, whom she had seen just two weeks before she died, according to police.
She had applied for two orders of protection against Pursehouse, first in 2011 and then again in 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported. She didn’t show up for a hearing on the first order and a judge dismissed it.
Eric Breslow, who said he’s Harwick’s longtime friend, told KTLA that the therapist had dated Pursehouse about seven or eight years ago and described him as being “obsessed” with her.
“This was a constant thing that she talked about, that she was afraid of this particular guy and it was always something that kind of followed her,” Breslow said. “It scared her enough to tell friends that, gee, I think I should get some mace or pepper spray.”
Officers responded to her home in the 2000 block of Mounds Street early Saturday after getting a call about a woman heard screaming.
They arrived to find Harwick’s roommate in the street and he told them that she was being assaulted inside the home and that he had to jump a wall and run into a neighboring home for help, according to the news release. That’s when officers found the badly injured woman under the balcony and took her to a hospital where she later died.
Inside the home, officers found signs of a struggle upstairs as well as evidence that someone had forced their way into the home and left after the killing, LAPD said.
Police found and arrested Pursehouse in Playa Del Rey on suspicion of murder hours after Harwick’s death. He is being held on $2 million bail, according to county inmate records.
An autopsy determined Harwick died from “blunt force injuries of the head and torso,” according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner records. The death was ruled a homicide.
Harwick was a Playboy model before starting a practice specializing in psychotherapy and sex therapy. She authored a book titled “The New Sex Bible for Women” and also appeared in the documentary “Addicted to Sexting.”
The therapist was previously engaged to actor Drew Carey before they split two years ago.
Anyone with information can call the LAPD at 877-527-3247. Those who prefer to provide a tip anonymously can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
KTLA’s Brian Day contributed to this report.