Jeremy Vine opens up about horrors of being stalked by former BBC presenter

Jeremy Vine has opened up about his experience of being stalked by former BBC presenter Alex Belfield, who was jailed for five-and-a-half-years last week.

Belfield, a former BBC Leeds host turned YouTuber, waged a relentless stalking campaign against several 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 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 Channel 5 and BBC Radio 2 presenter Vine, and theatre blogger Philip Dehany.

In an interview with The Times, Vine talked about how the hardest part of his stalking ordeal was telling his teenage daughters that they needed to be careful leaving the house, as he was worried Belfield would incite one of his 360,000 followers to turn up at the Vine family home and physically attack them.

“Because he’s a coward, Belfield was never going to come to my house himself, but my fear was someone inspired by him would come and attack me or my children because of the hatred he was engendering against me,” said Vine.

“My youngest daughter was 13 then and she burst into tears when I told her there may be somebody who wants to hurt her. He doesn’t even know my daughter’s name, but she’s one of his victims.”

He said it was a year before she regained her confidence in leaving the house.

Former BBC local radio DJ Alex Belfield

(PA Wire)

Belfield targeted Vine online, spreading vitriol about the presenter and claiming he stole £1,000 from a charity.

Vine said: “On YouTube, his videos were getting 500,000 views – it’s that wacky that people watch, like watching a car crash.

“I lost sleep over it. These people want to get into your head, and in the end, they do. You end up thinking: ‘How did I deserve this?’ I just collided with this ball of hatred. It’s like you bump into someone in the street and they stab you.”

In court, the judge said that there had been “no escape” for Belfield’s victims until bail conditions were imposed before his trial, and said he agreed with Vine’s characterisation that the ex-DJ had “weaponised the internet” against those he targeted.

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