Ex-BBC radio DJ stalked Jeremy Vine and left him distressed, court hears

·3 min read
Alex Belfield and Jeremy Vine - Jacob King/PA Wire/Sarah Jeynes/BBC
Alex Belfield and Jeremy Vine - Jacob King/PA Wire/Sarah Jeynes/BBC

A former BBC radio DJ stalked Jeremy Vine, leaving him “distressed” and struggling to eat and sleep, a court heard.

Alex Belfield appeared at Nottingham Crown Court accused of stalking eight members of staff after bosses failed to renew his contract at BBC Radio Leeds in 2011.

The 42-year-old had allegedly bombarded presenters, editors and other colleagues with vile emails, tweets, messages and uploaded videos to his YouTube channel.

Jurors were told that Mr Belfield accused the Channel 5 presenter of stealing BBC licence fee money in a string of abusive tweets and YouTube videos.

He also branded Mr Vine a “sanctimonious p---k”, “a c--t” and “scum-sucking pond life” and asked people for his numbers, or the numbers of his family or friends, it was claimed.

The court heard how the constant bombardment of abuse left Mr Vine’s “sense of wellbeing and optimism destroyed” and led to him taking security measures to protect his family.

John McGuinness QC, prosecuting, said that Mr Vine was worried someone would come to his home and attack his family after followers of Mr Belfield sent him threatening messages.

Alex Belfield - Jacob King/PA Wire
Alex Belfield - Jacob King/PA Wire

The court heard how Mr Belfield’s attacks on Mr Vine began on April 2020, when the latter made a personal contribution towards the memorial fund of John Myers, his late friend, while the BBC made a separate payment of £1,000 to the same fund, unbeknownst to him.

Despite this, Mr McGuinness said: “On April 8 on YouTube, Alex Belfield said on his channel ‘Jeremy Vine, can I do a rant about him? I was listening to him on Radio 2 today and this guy really p--- me off’.

“On May 3 on his YouTube channel, Alex Belfield said ‘When you talk b------t like that on your programme, Jeremy, it’s very dangerous because your opinions are infectious. Shame on you, Jeremy. Blood on your hands, sanctimonious p---k’.

“On May 6 on his YouTube channel, Alex Belfield said of Jeremy Vine ‘I don’t like Jeremy Vine. I think he’s a c--t’.”

Mr McGuinness added: “By the middle of May, Alex Belfield had become fixated on the £1,000 the BBC had contributed to the Myers memorial fund and his baseless accusation that Jeremy Vine had somehow stolen it.

“On May 17 on his YouTube channel, he said ‘So Jeremy Vine had a review from me a few weeks ago and kept his gob shut. I said he was sanctimonious and supercilious for the way he treats people who phone BBC Radio 2’.

“‘You took a thousand pounds of BBC licence fee money for that event. A thousand pounds. I’ve got the FOI [freedom of information request], Jeremy. You can’t deny it, you and your friends’.”

Listeners ‘urged to send private details’

The court also heard how Mr Belfield asked people watching his show to provide private contact information for Mr Vine.

Mr McGuinness added: “Since Alex Belfield started to make his allegations, Jeremy Vine has received threatening and abusive messages on Twitter.

“To be accused of stealing £1,000 that was donated to a memorial fund, and then have that false accusation broadcast to thousands of people, was a slur on Jeremy Vine’s reputation and made him feel ashamed.

“In Jeremy Vine’s eyes, Alex Belfield’s lies did succeed in destroying his sense of wellbeing and optimism. He struggled to sleep, he lost his appetite and was constantly thinking what Alex Belfield’s next broadcast would be.

“He felt he had to take security advice for the protection of himself and his family because he was worried someone might come to his home and attack his family when he was not there.”

The court also heard how Mr Belfield branded his former managing editor at the BBC an “odious vile woman” and a “spineless weasel”, and made “sickening, misogynistic and transphobic” remarks.

Mr Belfield, who is representing himself, denies the charges. The trial continues.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting