A former BBC radio DJ has been jailed for five years after being convicted of four stalking charges against broadcasters including Jeremy Vine.
Alex Belfield, 42, was also handed a restraining order in connection with charges he was found not guilty of – including the former director of BBC England, Helen Thomas, who used to be news editor at Minster FM in the 1990s, and who lives near York.
Belfield, a former Radio Leeds presenter, was found guilty after a trial at Nottingham Crown Court last month of waging a relentless stalking campaign against broadcasters, with Mr Vine subjected to an “avalanche of hatred”.
TV and radio host Mr Vine labelled Belfield “the Jimmy Savile of trolling” during a trial which heard he repeatedly posted or sent abusive messages, videos and emails.
Jurors accepted Belfield caused serious alarm or distress to two victims and was found guilty of “simple” stalking in relation to Channel 5 and BBC Radio 2 presenter Mr Vine and theatre blogger Philip Dehany.
BBC Radio Northampton presenter Bernie Keith was left feeling suicidal by a “tsunami of hate”, the trial heard.
Describing watching Belfield’s video output as like swimming in sewage, Mr Vine said in court.
Jurors convicted Belfield, of Mapperley, Nottingham, of four charges committed between 2012 and 2021.
Sentencing Belfield, who sat taking notes in the court dock, Mr Justice Saini told him: “Your offences are so serious, only a custodial sentence can be justified.”
He added a pre-sentence report showed while Belfield “fully acknowledges the distress to victims” it also “highlights you still appear to focus on the impact on you and feel in certain respects you’ve been unfairly treated”.
He also ordered indefinite restraining orders be made against Belfield, in favour of his victims and four other individuals.
The verdicts in relation to each complainant were:
Not guilty in relation to
- Rozina Breen (BBC Manager, who used to be his editor at Radio Leeds)
- Liz Green (BBC Radio Leeds Presenter)
- Helen Thomas (Director of BBC England)
- Stephanie Hirst (Presenter).
Guilty in relation to
- Bernard Spedding
- Ben Hewis
- Philip Dehany ªnot guilty to the charge on the indictment but guilty of the alternative charge of “simple” stalking)
- Jeremy Vine (not guilty to the charge on the indictment but guilty of the alternative charge of “simple” stalking ).