Former BBC DJ found guilty after stalking broadcasters and subjecting Jeremy Vine to ‘avalanche of hate’

A former BBC DJ has been warned that he will face prison after being found guilty of running a stalking campaign against broadcasters and subjecting TV presenter Jeremy Vine to an “avalanche of hatred”.

Lex Belfield was labeled the “Jimmy Saville of trolling” during a trial in which he was heard repeatedly posting or sending abusive messages, videos, and emails.

The jurors acknowledged that Belfield caused serious alarm or distress to the two victims and pleaded guilty to “ordinary” stalking in relation to Channel 5 and BBC Radio 2 presenter Mr Vine and theater blogger Philip DeHaney.

BBC Radio Northampton presenter Bernie Keith felt suicidal from a “tsunami of hate” during the hearing.

Mr. Vine also provided evidence against Belfield, telling jurors: “This is not a regular troll here. This is the Jimmy Saville of trolling.”

Describing Belfield’s video output as swimming in sewage, Mr Vine said of the defendant’s conduct: “It felt like I had a fish hook in my face and my flesh was being torn apart, and the only way to escape further pain was to The way was to stay whole. Still.”

Nottingham Crown Court jurors deliberated for 14 hours and 27 minutes before convicting Belfield on four of the charges on Friday.

Belfield showed no emotion and wrote notes on a piece of paper as he was found guilty of committing the crime between 2012 and 2021.

Trial Judge Mr Justice Saini told the defendant that he “needs to be extra careful about your online communication” as he adjourned the sentence till September.

“There’s a good chance of a custodial sentence,” he said.

Court was told that Maperly, 42, of Nottingham, started out as a broadcast assistant on local radio and in recent years founded a YouTube channel known as Celebrity Radio.

After exercising his right to freedom of expression in communication with the complainants, he told the court that he was a victim of social media “pile-on” and “witch-hunt” by other broadcasters.

Beginning Crown’s case last month, prosecutor John McGuinness QC said Vine had been subjected to a “frequent bombardment” of disturbing tweets and YouTube videos in 2020.

The presenter, the court heard, faced a wave of online abuse following false and completely unfounded claims related to the alleged theft of £1,000.

Belfield is said to have developed a “dislike, almost hatred” of Mr Vine after the BBC donated the amount to a memorial fund set up to honor a friend of the broadcaster.

In his testimony, Mr. Wines, who launched separate defamation proceedings last year, said of Belfield: “I found it shocking and disturbing, and it worried me. I’ve had a physical stalker in the past.” who followed me.

“Compared to this guy it’s a picnic. It’s like an avalanche of hate that hits you.”

One of his victims included a videographer who was followed online after tweeting his hatred on one of Belfield’s YouTube videos.

At the start of the trial, prosecutors said Belfield was “unwilling to move on” after leaving the BBC and became dissatisfied with what they believed to be unfair treatment from their managers.

He was found not guilty of stalking charges in relation to former BBC head of North Rosina Breen, former BBC Radio Leeds presenters Liz Greene and Stephanie Hurst and former BBC worker Helen Thomas.

Mr McGuinness told the court: “It has not been suggested that the defendant’s conduct involved physical stalking … although the effect of what Alex Belfield did was such, in fact, as to the possibility of Mr Belfield coming to his homes.” were worried about.

“The stalking to which this case is connected is of a different type – and it is similar to Internet trolling.

“The alleged victims did not want to contact Alex Belfield, see or hear or know what he was saying about them.

“But he went ahead and did it anyway, prosecutors say, constantly harassing them, knowing or being aware that he was harassing them – to the extent that what he did caused them serious alarm or distress. Cause that affected his daily life for the worse.”

Belfield was granted bail and would be sentenced on 16 September.