Ex-BBC DJ Alex Belfield jailed for stalking Jeremy Vine and other broadcasters

Radio 2 and Channel 5 presenter labels defendant ‘the Jimmy Savile of trolling’

Jane Dalton
Friday 16 September 2022 13:31 BST
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A former BBC local radio DJ has been jailed for five-and-a-half years for stalking broadcasters including Jeremy Vine, who was subjected to an “avalanche of hatred”.

Alex Belfield waged a relentless stalking campaign against the journalists, with Vine labelling him “the Jimmy Savile of trolling” after he repeatedly posted or sent abusive messages, videos and emails.

Belfield, 42, was convicted at Nottingham Crown Court in a trial last month of four stalking charges, committed between 2012 and last year.

Jurors accepted he caused serious alarm or distress to two victims and was found guilty of “simple” stalking in relation to Vine, a Channel 5 and BBC Radio 2 presenter, and theatre blogger Philip Dehany.

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

Sentencing judge, Mr Justice Saini, told Belfield, who was seated in the court dock taking notes: “Your offences are so serious, only a custodial sentence can be justified.”

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

Vine arriving at Nottingham Crown Court

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

The judge said a pre-sentence report showed that 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 told Belfield, from Mapperley, Nottingham, that while the offences were not considered traditional stalking, “your methods were just as effective a way of intimidating victims and in many ways much harder to deal with”.

He said there was no escape for Belfield’s victims until bail conditions were imposed before his trial.

He agreed with Vine’s characterisation that the ex-DJ had “weaponised the internet” against those he targeted.

He also ordered that indefinite restraining orders be made against Belfield, preventing him from contacting his victims and four other individuals.

Additional reporting by PA

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