A former BBC DJ has been discovered responsible of waging a relentless stalking marketing campaign in opposition to broadcasters and subjecting TV presenter Jeremy Vine to an “avalanche of hatred”.
lex Belfield was labelled “the Jimmy Savile of trolling” throughout a trial which heard he repeatedly posted or despatched abusive messages, movies and emails.
Jurors accepted Belfield brought on critical alarm or misery to 2 victims and was discovered responsible of “easy” stalking in relation to Channel 5 and BBC Radio 2 presenter Mr Vine and theatre blogger Philip Dehany.
BBC Radio Northampton presenter Bernie Keith was left feeling suicidal by a “tsunami of hate”, the trial heard.
Mr Vine additionally gave proof in opposition to Belfield, telling jurors: “This isn’t an everyday troll right here. That is the Jimmy Savile of trolling.”
Describing watching Belfield’s video output as like swimming in sewage, Mr Vine stated of the defendant’s conduct: “It felt like I had a fish hook in my face and my flesh was being torn, and the one strategy to keep away from additional ache was to remain fully nonetheless.”
Jurors at Nottingham Crown Courtroom deliberated for 14 hours and 27 minutes earlier than convicting Belfield of 4 expenses on Friday.
Belfield confirmed no emotion and wrote notes on a chunk of paper as he was discovered responsible of committing the offences between 2012 and 2021.
The court docket was advised the 42-year-old, of Mapperley, Nottingham, began out as a broadcast assistant on native radio and lately arrange a YouTube channel often known as Celeb Radio.
He advised the court docket he was the sufferer of a social media “pile-on” and a “witch-hunt” by different broadcasters, after exercising his rights to freedom of speech in communications with the complainants.
Opening the Crown’s case final month, prosecutor John McGuinness QC stated Vine was subjected to a “fixed bombardment” of harassing tweets and YouTube movies in 2020.
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The presenter, the court docket heard, confronted a wave of abuse on-line after false and fully baseless claims had been made regarding the supposed theft of £1,000.
Belfield is alleged to have developed a “dislike, virtually hatred” of Mr Vine after the BBC donated the sum to a memorial fund set as much as honour a pal of the broadcaster.
In his proof, Mr Vine, who launched separate defamation proceedings final yr, stated of Belfield: “I discovered it surprising and distressing, and it made me nervous. I’ve prior to now had a bodily stalker who adopted me.
“That could be a picnic in comparison with this man. It’s like an avalanche of hatred that you simply get hit by.”
One other considered one of his victims included a videographer who was stalked on-line after tweeting his disgust at considered one of Belfield’s YouTube movies.
At the beginning of the trial prosecutors stated Belfield “wasn’t ready to maneuver on” after leaving the BBC and have become disgruntled by what he perceived to be unfair remedy from his managers.
He was discovered not responsible of stalking expenses in relation to the BBC’s former head of North Rozina Breen, former BBC Radio Leeds presenters Liz Inexperienced and Stephanie Hirst, and former BBC employee Helen Thomas.
Mr McGuinness advised the court docket: “It isn’t urged the defendant’s conduct concerned bodily stalking … though such was the impact of what Alex Belfield did that some had been, the truth is, nervous about the opportunity of Mr Belfield turning up at their properties.
“The stalking which this case is worried with is of a special kind – and is extra akin to web trolling.
“The alleged victims didn’t need to be contacted by Alex Belfield, they didn’t need to see or hear or know what it was that he was saying about them.
“However he went forward and he did it anyway, the prosecution says, relentlessly harassing them, realizing or being conscious he was harassing them – to the extent that what he did brought on them critical alarm or misery which affected their day by day lives for the more severe.”
Belfield was granted bail and can be sentenced on September 16.