A BBC Radio DJ branded the ‘Jimmy Savile of trolling’ has been discovered responsible of stalking Jeremy Vine and different stars by unleashing a ‘tsunami of hate’ over the course of 9 years.
Alex Belfield was accused of subjecting BBC presenter Vine to 11 months of ‘private and unsightly assaults’ on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
A courtroom heard he additionally left BBC Radio Northampton DJ Bernie Keith feeling suicidal after concentrating on him as a part of his marketing campaign of abuse.
The 42-year-old had denied stalking Vine and 7 different alleged victims, and claimed he was the topic of a ‘witch hunt’.
But a jury at Nottingham Crown Court has right this moment discovered him responsible of different expenses of ‘easy stalking’ in relation to Vine and blogger Philip Dehany, and of stalking Keith and videographer Ben Hewis.
He was cleared on 4 different expenses of stalking different BBC workers and will likely be sentenced at a later date.
Belfield, of Mapperley, Nottingham, confirmed no emotion and wrote on a chunk of paper because the verdicts have been delivered.
Veteran broadcaster Vine had sobbed in courtroom as he described being focused by the ‘Jimmy Savile of trolling’ whereas giving proof in opposition to a YouTube host accused of stalking him.
The broadcaster stated being harassed by ‘harmful’ Alex Belfield, who has over 372,000 subscribers on the video-sharing platform, was ‘like being caught with a fish hook in my face and my flesh was being torn’.
Jeremy Vine (left) gave proof within the trial of former BBC Radio Leeds presenter Alex Belfield (proper). They are each pictured outdoors courtroom
Prosecutors claimed Belfield, 42, subjected Vine, 57, to a ‘relentless’ on-line marketing campaign that included a ‘wave of non-public and unsightly assaults’ on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook over an 11-month interval.
‘It left me numb with concern… this was completely Olympic degree stalking,’ Vine stated.
Belfield can be stated to have inspired his supporters to make hoax calls to Vine’s Channel 5 TV and BBC Radio 2 exhibits, accused Vine of appointing his ’10-year-old daughter’ as a director of one in all his corporations in a bid to dodge paying tax, and tried to acquire personal cellphone numbers for his relations.
Vine additionally advised Nottingham Crown Court that he had not been conscious of Belfield till the 42-year-old stated from a broadcasting studio that he preferred to look at a feminine climate presenter on his leather-based couch, ‘bare and with a field of tissues helpful’.
The BBC presenter added that he obtained an ‘avalanche of hatred’ from different web customers due to Belfield’s movies and tweets, and needed to put cameras in his dwelling as a result of he feared one of many YouTuber’s ‘disciples’ could launch a knife or acid assault on him or his household.
Belfield, pictured right here arriving at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday, was discovered responsible of two counts of straightforward stalking and two counts of stalking to trigger alarm and misery
The expenses confronted by the previous BBC DJ
Alex Belfield had been charged with stalking eight different broadcasters and media figures.
After a trial at Nottingham Crown Court, a jury spent greater than 14 hours deliberating earlier than returning with the verdicts.
The jury may both discover him not responsible, responsible, or convict him of the lesser offence of ‘easy stalking’, which implies stalking with out inflicting alarm or misery.
He was accused of stalking to trigger alarm and misery to the next individuals:
Count 1: The BBC’s former head of north Rozina Breen – not responsible
Count 2: Former BBC Radio Leeds presenter Liz Green – not responsible
Count 3: Former managing editor of BBC Radio Leeds Helen Thomas – not responsible
Count 4: Former BBC Radio Leeds presenter Stephanie Hirst – not responsible
Count 5: BBC Radio Northampton DJ Bernie Keith – responsible
Count 6: Videographer Ben Hirst – responsible
Count 7: Theatre blogger Philip Dehany – not responsible, however responsible of merely stalking
Count 8: BBC broadcaster Jeremy Vine – not responsible, however responsible of straightforward stalking
Vine advised the courtroom: ‘We are coping with critical criminality right here. This just isn’t a daily troll. This is the Jimmy Savile of trolling. Every reference to him makes my flesh creep. All he does is lie.’
The courtroom heard Vine even needed to put up an image of Belfield in his hallway and warn his 13-year-old daughter to be on her guard whereas on the road – inflicting her to burst in tears.
Vine, carrying a navy blue swimsuit and tie, steadily glared at Belfield from the witness field as he described him as a ‘nasty, nasty man’ whose actions have been, he stated, ‘loopy and depraved’.
He advised how he’d by no means heard of Belfield, himself a former BBC radio host, till April 2020 when an acquaintance despatched him a hyperlink to a video on YouTube that featured a ‘rant’ about him – with Belfield concluding: ‘This man actually p***** me off.’
Vine stated that in hindsight, he ‘wished he hadn’t’ seen it, including: ‘Watching this man is like swimming in sewage.’
He added that in a single incident, which he understands could have gotten Belfield fired, a younger climate forecaster was the topic of ‘disgusting’ remarks.
Vine advised the courtroom: ‘You [Belfield] have been on the air and a younger climate forecaster was sat down in Mr Belfield’s studio. I listened to it once more a few days in the past to verify my recollection was right.
‘You stated: “I like to watch you on my leather sofa at home.” You stated: “I’m usually naked” and “I like to have a box of tissues handy.” I believed it was disgusting.
‘I’m saying it contributed to you being fired because it rightly ought to have. You’ve stated your identify in courtroom and also you’ve bought that proper. Everything that brings me here’s a lie.
‘I haven’t heard you say something truthful in courtroom right this moment. I didn’t need to be cross examined by you as you’ve induced a lot turmoil in your life.
‘You are the Jimmy Savile of trolling. You function by proxy, you drive others to ship messages. Not separated by weeks or months, they have been separated by days, generally hours. You have been broadcasting on consecutive days.
‘I’m petrified of you.’
Addressing Belfield, he added: ‘I knew nothing about your BBC profession till you made lude feedback a couple of climate forecaster. I believe as a result of journalism holds reality, you’re not (a journalist).
‘Your need to do me critical hurt, that was clear from your whole broadcasts, frightened me.
‘I refitted the digital camera system on my home. Having purchased two, I gave two to my neighbour.’
Jurors have been advised a ‘fixed bombardment’ of movies, tweets and messages then adopted, with Belfield changing into more and more abusive.
Vine advised the listening to: ‘I can see he’s actually beginning to personally dislike me, and I have no idea why as a result of I’ve by no means had something to do with this man.
‘This begins to get extra worrying for me as a result of clearly it’s Alex versus Jeremy and he has an agenda, and I’m questioning if I’m beginning to have an issue right here.’
He added that in a single interval, Belfield had made 124 references to him in his on-line content material in simply 14 days – and began falsely claiming that Vine had ‘stolen’ £1,000 of licence price payers’ cash to place in the direction of a memorial for radio govt John Myers, who died on the age of 60.
Vine broke down as he advised jurors how that accusation, which he described as a ‘full lie’, had led to at least one troll concentrating on a web-based tribute he posted to his father, who died of Parkinson’s illness in 2018.
He stated: ‘His remark was, ‘what would your father have stated if he knew his son was a thieving toe rag? I could not deal with it. I went to the police and stated I could not deal with it any extra.’
The BBC star added that he has had ‘scores of horrible messages on Twitter. It’s extremely highly effective factor to say “this man took your money for his friends funeral and a p***up”. None of that’s true.’
Turning to the jury, Mr Vine added: ‘The risk that I felt Belfield posed to me was a scale dozen occasions greater. He doesn’t know and I don’t know if his 500,000 [YouTube] followers would possibly discover me.’
Belfield taking a selfie outdoors Nottingham Crown Court earlier than an earlier courtroom look
Vine added that Belfield, of Mapperley, Nottingham, escalated the harassment from ‘week to week’ to ‘everyday’, claiming: ‘He operates by persistence and repetition.
‘I could not sleep. You are fascinated with this 24/7.’
The courtroom was performed a collection of Belfield’s movies about Vine, during which he repeatedly referred to the lacking £1,000 and described him a ‘c***’, a ‘sanctimonious p****’, and stated he had ‘blood on his fingers’ over the Covid-19 pandemic.
Shaking his head through the footage at occasions, Vine stated: ‘I’ve two daughters, they’re 18 and 15 now. My daughter Anna was 13 on the time this occurred.
‘I needed to sit her and her sister down and inform them in regards to the state of affairs.
‘I stated this man hates me, he has accused me of stealing, he has pushed a lot hatred in the direction of me so we’re going to need to watch out.
‘We had an image of him in our hallway. We thought it was attainable that one in all his half 1,000,000 followers may have a knife or acid or one thing.
‘Imagine telling a 13-year-old that? She was in tears, I noticed her simply shrink. It was a 12 months earlier than she had the boldness to depart the home once more.
‘She is his sufferer as effectively and he doesn’t even know her identify.’
‘There’s a great deal of stalking in broadcasting, however none of my pals within the business has seen something like this.
‘This is Olympic-level stalking.’
Describing the affect Belfield’s alleged marketing campaign had on him, Vine stated it left him ‘shredded’.
A jury at Nottingham Crown Court discovered Belfield responsible of stalking 4 individuals, however cleared him of 4 different stalking expenses
He added: ‘It launched unbelievable hate in opposition to me. I had 5,000 to 10,000 hateful private tweets as a direct results of Belfield.
‘He stored on and on. I used to be anxious. I could not eat or sleep for a time.
‘I felt wounded, and felt there was completely no escape.
‘I had a bodily stalker who adopted me. That was a picnic in comparison with this man. His movies are nonetheless on-line. In 1,000 years my nice, nice grandchildren will see tales about how I stole £1,000, and there may be nothing I can do about it.’
Vine stated the abuse solely ended when the police began investigating Belfield, and his bail situations meant he may now not produce movies about him.
He added: ‘That has given me and the others a 12 months the place we simply remembered what it was like ‘BB’ – Before Belfield.’
After greater than 14 hours of deliberations, the jury cleared Belfield of half of the eight expenses in opposition to him.
The jury discovered him not responsible of stalking the BBC’s former head of North, Rozina Breen; former BBC Radio Leeds presenters Liz Green and Stephanie Hirst, and former BBC employee Helen Thomas.
It discovered him responsible of stalking to trigger alarm or misery in opposition to BBC Radio Northampton presenter Bernie Keith and videographer Ben Hewis.
It convicted him of different expenses of ‘easy stalking’ in relation to Jeremy Vine and theatre blogger Philip Dehany, which means stalking with out alarm or misery.
He is ready to be sentenced on the similar courtroom on September 16.