Emily Maitlis: Man who stalked BBC presenter for 25 years jailed after breaching restraining order for 12th time

Edward Vines has been 'obsessed' with BBC presenter since their university days, court hears

Tim Wyatt
Tuesday 04 February 2020 00:54

A "persistent and systematic" stalker who has harassed Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis for decades has been jailed for three years after breaching a restraining order for the 12th time.

Edward Vines, who has spent 25 years harassing the award-winning journalist since they were briefly friends at university, was already in prison in Nottingham when he wrote two letters to the BBC presenter's mother Marion last year.

This breached the terms of his restraining order again, leading the judge Stuart Rafferty QC to sentence him to a further three years imprisonment.

Mr Vines, 49, has been barred from making any contact with Ms Maitlis or any members of her family since 2009.

He wrote two letters to Marion Maitlis in May and October last year, asking her to pass them on to her journalist daughter.

In the letters, he claimed he was in love with Ms Maitlis and was “distressed” she had not made any contact with him.

Because of the terms of Vines’s imprisonment, all his post was being checked by prison staff and as a result neither letter reached their intended recipient.

Sentencing him, Judge Rafferty said: “There's no sight of this ever ending. For whatever reason, you have an obsession with Emily Maitlis and it is your belief that you have been wronged by her and you have been wronged by the law.

“I am afraid I have to sentence you on the basis that you are a long way from any reality dawning on you.

"If you love Emily Maitlis as you say you do, one might be forgiven for saying you have a very strange way of showing it, because you have made her life, in many ways, a misery."

Vines was first convicted of harassing Ms Maitlis in 2002. At the time of the latest offences, he was serving a 45-month prison term handed down in January 2018 for the same offence of breaching his restraining order by writing to the journalist from a bail hostel and prison.

In an interview after that hearing, Ms Maitlis said she was worried Vines would never abandon his decades-long campaign of harassment and said living with her stalker was similar to suffering from a chronic illness.

Edward Vines attempted to write to Ms Matlis's mother while he was serving a previous sentence in HMP Nottingham

Prosecutor Ian Way said the BBC star had not been approached to provide a witness impact statement this time because “each repeated episode compounds the distress”.

Judge Rafferty added: "She can't live a free life because of you. She is forever looking over her shoulder to see if you are there.

"If you keep breaching the order, all the court can do is lock you up.”

Speaking in Vines’s defence, barrister Stefan Fox said it was very unlikely the letters in question would have ever left HMP Nottingham, and that his client now recognised any issues he had with his previous trials could not be aired in letters to the Maitlis family.