Former BBC Leeds presenter stalked and trolled ex-colleagues including Jeremy Vine after his contract was not renewed, court hears

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A former BBC Radio Leeds presenter has been stalking and trolling ex-colleagues online, including Jeremy Vine, after his contract was not renewed, a court heard.

Alex Belfield had been repeatedly posting and sending mocking and abusive messages, videos and emails since 2012, a year after he stopped working at the BBC, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

The 42-year-old has caused serious alarm or distress to eight victims including Jeremy Vine, Channel 5 and BBC Radio 2 presenter, Stephanie Hirst, former BBC Radio Leeds presenter and Bernie Keith, BBC Radio Northampton presenter, prosecutors said.

The court heard Mr Vine was subjected to a "constant bombardment" of harassing tweets and YouTube videos based on false claims relating to a theft of £1,000.

Mr Belfield from Mapperley, Nottingham is said to have started a "witch hunt" and developed a "dislike, almost hatred" against the broadcaster after the BBC donated the sum to a memorial fund to honour a friend of his.

The court heard Mr Vine, who had no knowledge or awareness of Mr Belfield until 2020, had no idea the BBC made a donation and "certainly didn't steal it".

The broadcaster was also the subject to a "ludicrous" claim that he had "signed his 10-year-old daughter up as a company director".

Stephanie Hirst felt the conduct against her had been sickening, misogynistic and transphobic, while Bernie Keith installed additional home security as a result of the alleged stalking, the court heard.

Mr McGuinness QC said although Alex Belfield's conduct did not involve physical stalking… "some were, in fact, worried about the possibility of Mr Belfield turning up at their homes."

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The court heard Mr Belfield, who recently started a YouTube channel called Celebrity Radio, "wasn't prepared to move on" after leaving the BBC and was not happy with what he perceived as unfair treatment from his managers.

Alex Belfield has denied the 8 counts of stalking that allegedly took place between 2012 and 2021, including 3 counts relating to two managers who worked at BBC Radio Leeds.

Mr McGuinness added: "He said the BBC had legally trained him but he was a whistle-blower and a thorn in the BBC's side."

The trial continues and is expected to last several weeks.

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