Jeremy Vine criticises social media giants after seeing his stalker jailed
Jeremy Vine has criticised the social media companies in the wake of the jailing of a former BBC local radio presenter for stalking.
Alex Belfield, 42, was last month found guilty at Nottingham Crown Court of waging a campaign against a number of figures from the broadcasting world, including Mr Vine.
On Friday he was jailed for five years and 26 weeks.
Jurors accepted he caused serious alarm or distress to two victims and found him guilty of “simple” stalking in relation to Channel 5 and BBC Radio 2 presenter Mr Vine and theatre blogger Philip Dehany.
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Speaking to a Sunday newspaper, Mr Vine criticised platforms such as YouTube and Twitter, saying: “We had to get lawyers to get his shit taken down, and even then it’s hard.
“The companies just say no. They don’t have any moral values.”
Mr Vine said stalking is common for broadcasters.
He added: “Of my three best female friends at the BBC, all of them have had stalkers.
“I think stalking is the industrial disease of broadcasting.”
Speaking about feeling more cautious about interacting with listeners online, he said: “I love hearing from them, but (Belfield) has poisoned it.
“The lagoon has been turned black.”
Jurors convicted Belfield of four charges committed between 2012 and 2021.
During sentencing, Mr Justice Saini told him: “Your offences are so serious only a custodial sentence can be justified.”
Belfield, who has 359,000 followers on his YouTube channel, The Voice Of Reason, and 43,000 on Twitter, directed his attacks via social media “in highly negative and often abusive terms”, the judge said.
As well as jailing Belfield, Mr Justice Saini issued indefinite restraining orders banning him from contacting his victims.
YouTube and Twitter have been contacted for comment.
Vine’s criticism follows shortly the conviction of a neighbour who stalked Scottish broadcaster Isla Traquair at her rural cottage home.
Ms Traquair, 42, suffered nightmares and panic attacks due to the attentions of Jonathan Barrett, who stared into her bedroom window and 'chain-sawed' a bush in her garden.
The ex-Grampian, ITV and Channel 5 news presenter said Barrett, 54, 'terrorised' her for seven months between after she moved into a 1700s cottage in the Cotswolds.
He was spared jail and sentenced to 300 hours of community service and ordered to pay £715 in costs.