Entertainment

Former BBC DJ guilty of stalking Jeremy Vine in ‘vile’ hate campaign

A former BBC DJ has been found guilty of running a relentless stalking campaign against broadcasters and plunging TV presenter Jeremy Vine into an “avalanche of hatred”.

lex Belfield was branded the “Jimmy Savile of trolls” during a trial where he repeatedly posted or sent abusive messages, videos and emails.

The jury accepted Belfield caused serious warning or distress to two victims and was found guilty of “simple” stalking involving Channel 5 and BBC Radio 2 presenter Mr Vine and home blogger sing Philip Dehany.

BBC Radio Northampton presenter Bernie Keith was left feeling suicidal by a “tsunami of hatred”, the trial.

Mr Vine also gave evidence against Belfield, telling jurors: “This is not a regular troll here. This is the Jimmy Savile of trolling. “

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Jeremy Vine arrives at Nottingham Crown Court to give evidence at trial (Dave Higgens/PA)

Describing Belfield’s video output as being like swimming in sewage, Mr Vine said of the defendant’s conduct: “I felt like I had a fish hook in my face and my flesh was being torn apart, and The only way to avoid further pain is to stay completely. still.”

Judges at Nottingham Crown Court deliberated for 14 hours and 27 minutes before convicting Belfield on four counts on Friday.

Belfield showed no emotion and wrote a note on a piece of paper when he was found guilty of a crime between 2012 and 2021.

The court said the 42-year-old Mapperley, Nottingham, started his career as a broadcast assistant on a local radio station and in recent years founded a YouTube channel called Celebrity Radio.

He testified in court that he was the victim of a social media “rubble” and a “witch hunt” by other broadcasters, after exercising his right to free speech during communicate with complainants.

Opening the Crown case last month, prosecutor John McGuinness QC said Vine had been subject to “a constant onslaught” of harassing YouTube tweets and videos in 2020.

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The presenter, the court heard, has faced a wave of abuse online after false and completely baseless claims were made in connection with the alleged £1,000 theft.

Belfield is said to have developed “hate, almost hatred” for Mr Vine after the BBC donated the money to a memorial fund set up in honor of a friend of the broadcaster.

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Former BBC presenter Alex Belfield poses for a photo on his phone outside the courthouse (Jacob King/PA)

In his testimony, Mr Vine, who launched separate defamation proceedings last year, said of Belfield: “I found it shocking and distressing, and it worried me. I had a stalker in the past.

“It was a picnic compared to this guy. It’s like an avalanche of hatred that you have to endure. “

One of his other victims included a videographer who was followed online after tweeting his disgust in front of one of Belfield’s YouTube videos.

At the start of the trial, prosecutors said Belfield was “unprepared to move on” after leaving the BBC and became disgruntled at what he saw as unfair treatment from his managers.

He was found not guilty of tracking charges involving former BBC North Korean leader Rozina Breen, former BBC Radio hosts Leeds Liz Green and Stephanie Hirst, and former BBC staffer Helen Thomas.

Mr. McGuinness told the court: “The defendant’s conduct should not be assumed to be related to physical stalking … although it is the effect of what Alex Belfield did that in fact, some people are concerned about it. the possibility that Mr. Belfield showed up at their home.

“The stalking that this case involves is a different type – and more akin to an internet troll.

“The alleged victims did not want to be contacted by Alex Belfield, they did not want to see or hear or know what he was saying about them.

“But he went ahead and did it anyway, according to the prosecution, relentlessly harassing them, knowing or being aware he was harassing them – to the extent that what he did causing them alarm or severe distress, affecting their daily lives worse and worse. “

Belfield was released on bail and will be sentenced on September 16.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/ex-bbc-dj-guilty-of-stalking-jeremy-vine-during-vile-hate-campaign-41892224.html Former BBC DJ guilty of stalking Jeremy Vine in ‘vile’ hate campaign

Fry Electronics Team

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