Ex-BBC Radio Leeds DJ Alex Belfield jailed for stalking Jeremy Vine and others

Alex Belfield
Jeremy Vine labelled Belfield 'the Jimmy Savile of trolling'. Credit: PA

A former BBC Radio presenter has been jailed for more than five years after being found guilty of stalking four people, including broadcaster Jeremy Vine.

Alex Belfield, who hosted a show on Radio Leeds, subjected his victims to an "avalanche of hate" by harassing them online and encouraging his followers to target them.

Belfield, 42, was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday, 16 September after a jury found him guilty of causing serious alarm or distress to two victims and "simple" stalking of two others, including Mr Vine.

The court heard how one victim was left "seconds away" from killing himself due to the "tsunami of hate" he received.

His trial heard how Belfield repeatedly posted or sent abusive messages, videos and emails to his victims - with Mr Vine labelling him "the Jimmy Savile of trolling".

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

During the sentencing, Mr Justice Saini said: "Your offences are so serious, only a custodial sentence can be justified."

He said that Belfield "fully acknowledges the distress to victims", but told him "you still appear to focus on the impact on you and feel in certain respects you've been treated unfairly".

The judge agreed with Mr Vine that Belfield had "weaponised the internet", leaving his victims with "no escape". He said that although this was not "traditional stalking", the methods "were just as effective a way of intimidating victims and in many ways much harder to deal with".

Belfield was sentenced to five-and-a-half-years in prison and indefinite restraining orders were also made against him, in favour of his four victims and four other individuals.

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