Jeremy Vine gives evidence in stalking trial of ex-BBC Radio Leeds DJ Alex Belfield

Jeremy Vine / Alex Belfield case
Alex Belfield, left, is accused of stalking Jeremy Vine. Credit: PA

Jeremy Vine has described a former BBC Radio DJ who is accused of stalking him as "the Jimmy Savile of trolling".

Vine, who is well known for his shows on BBC Radio 2 and Channel Five, began giving evidence on Wednesday morning in the Nottingham Crown Court trial of former BBC Radio Leeds presenter Alex Belfield. He said he was targeted by an "avalanche of hatred".

The 57-year-old told a jury: "This is not a regular troll here. This is the Jimmy Savile of trolling."

Prosecutors allege that Belfield, 42, caused serious alarm or distress to a number of victims including Vine, former BBC Radio Leeds mid-morning show host Stephanie Hirst, and BBC Radio Northampton's Bernie Keith.

Belfield allegedly abused radio presenter Stephanie Hirst Credit: PA

Videos were shown in court from Belfield's YouTube show, during which he accused Vine of peddling misinformation about coronavirus and profiting from the grief of listeners. He repeatedly referred to Vine using expletives.

Vine told the court he wished he had not watched some of the content.

He said: "I wished I hadn't. Watching this man is like swimming in sewage."

Vine said: "The first time I saw Alex Belfield, or heard his name, was when he uploaded a commentary on me that referred to me as a c***.

"I thought, 'It's absolutely disgusting.' I found it shocking and distressing and it made me worried."

Jeremy Vine arrives at court during the trial. Credit: PA

He added: "I thought, this guy is dangerous. I have in the past had a physical stalker who followed me. That is a picnic compared to this guy.

"It's like an avalanche of hatred that you get hit by."

At one point, Vine, who stood in the witness box wearing a blue suit, lighter blue striped shirt and navy tie, said: "I note the defendant is smirking throughout my evidence. It won't stop me."

Opening the Crown's case against Belfield, prosecutor John McGuinness QC said Vine was subjected to a "constant bombardment" of harassing tweets and YouTube videos in 2020.

The court was told Belfield, of Mapperley, Nottingham, started out as a broadcast assistant on local radio and in recent years set up a YouTube channel known as Celebrity Radio.

He denies eight counts of stalking alleged to have been committed between 2012 and 2021, including three counts relating to two managers and another presenter who worked at BBC Radio Leeds.

The trial continues.