Amie Harwick long feared the man now accused of killing her

By KC Baker
February 27, 2020 10:00 AM
Advertisement

For years, Amie Harwick feared ex-boyfriend Gareth Pursehouse, who is accused of strangling her and throwing her over the balcony of her Hollywood Hills home in the early morning hours of Feb. 15.

Pursehouse, 41, dated the 38-year-old a decade ago. Since then, she went on to become a licensed marriage and family therapist with a thriving practice in West Hollywood, author of the 2014 book, The Sex Bible for Women, an advocate for domestic violence victims and comedian Drew Carey‘s one-time fiancé.

After Harwick ended their relationship, Pursehouse allegedly began stalking and harassing her, prompting her to file two restraining orders against him.

When photographer Rudy Torres, a longtime friend of Harwick’s who’d worked with Pursehouse, heard that she had been killed — and who was accused of murdering her — he recounted what he alleges was Pursehouse’s obsessive nature.

When Harwick broke up with Pursehouse, “I saw his true colors,” Torres says.

After the breakup, Pursehouse started asking Torres to relay messages to Harwick for him.

Drew Carey and Amie Harwick
Instagram

“He would always ask me, ‘Can you tell Amie this? Can you send her this text?” he says.

Torres refused.

“I was like, ‘Yo, man, you got to let it go. Like, just stop.’”

• To read more about the tragic slaying of Amie Harwick, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday.

Even though Pursehouse was still flirting with other women, says Torres, “He definitely wanted Amie. He was like, ‘She’s the one. These [other] girls don’t mean anything.’”

It wasn’t until Torres learned that Pursehouse had allegedly broken into her apartment and had physically harmed her, which she detailed in restraining orders, that Torres realized just how serious the situation had become.

“I was like, ‘Dude, you really need to stop. You need to leave her alone,” says Torres.

Pursehouse allegedly became enraged. “He flipped out on me,” he says. “He’s like, ‘You got to pick a side. I’m your friend. You’re going to take her side?’

“I was like, Well, yeah.’”

Amie Harwick/Instagram

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE’s free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

Pursehouse cut him off, he says.

But court records allege Pursehouse continued to harass Harwick.

“She was scared,” he says.

So scared that five years after she filed a restraining order on April 12, 2012 — which expired in 2015 — she was still talking about how she lived in constant fear because of Pursehouse, he says.

Now Pursehouse is behind bars, held without bail. He is charged with murder and residential burglary with the special circumstance allegation of lying in wait. He has not yet entered a plea. His public defender did not return PEOPLE’s calls for comment.

‘She Was Just So Cool’

Singer and actor Donovan Leitch, who met Harwick through their mutual friend, former Red Hot Chili Peppers member Dave Navarro, tells PEOPLE, “not only was she absolutely beautiful but also so smart and funny and a natural people person.”

Amie Harwick
Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

He adds, “It made perfect sense for her to become a therapist and she devoted her life to helping couples better understand one another and develop strong bonds. She was not your average therapist. She was also incredibly cool and real.”

Calling her “non-materialistic,” Torres says, “She did have a thing for vintage. She loved flea markets and Goodwill and would always say, ‘There’s gold you can there get on a budget.’

“She was into so many things. She loved Old Hollywood. She listened to heavy metal. She was just so cool.”

Torres says he wants Harwick to be remembered for being a good person, doctor and friend who helped domestic violence victims and so many others, including him.

When he was once grappling with an issue, he says, “She was there for me. She wasn’t just Dr. Amie. As Dr Amie, she gave me resources. As my friend, Amie talked to me and more importantly, listened.

“I am forever grateful to her.”

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.