Ex BBC DJ Alex Belfield was found guilty of stalking various broadcaster in cluding BBC Radio 2 DJ and TV presenter, Jeremy Vine. (Credit: PA)
Former BBC local DJ Alex Belfield has been told that he could face jail time after being found guilty on stalking charges.
The ex-radio star targeted celebrities such as TV presenter Jeremy Vine, who gave evidence during the trial at Nottingham Crown Court.
He left another victim feeling suicidal with a “tsunami of hate”.
Who is Alex Belfield?
Alex Belfield is a 42-year-old former BBC radio host from Nottinghamshire.
He began his BBC career in 2001, joining BBC Radio Leicester as a show host.
Belfield went onto work for a number of station including Mercia FM, Touch FM, BBC Bristol, BBC Radio Shropshire and BBC Hereford and Worcester from 2004 to 2010.
In 2011, Belfield made his debut on BBC Radio 2. The appearance was an interview with Jimmy Savile which had been recorded in Savile’s home in Leeds.
Since leaving his radio career, Belfield has vlogged on his YouTube channel ‘Voice of Reason’, whch currently has 325,000 subscribers.
What was Alex Belfield found guilty of?
A court at Nottingham Crown Court found Belfield guilty of stalking after subjected several braodcasters and presenters to “relentless” attacks.
The jury took 14 hours and 27 minutes to deliberate the verdict.
During the trial, prosecutors claimed that he targeted BBC Radio 2 host and Channel 5 presenter Jeremy Vine with a “wave of personal and unpleasant attack” on various platforms including YouTube and Twitter over an 11-month period.
He was also found guilty of stalking BBC Radio Northampton Bernie Keith, who had been subjected to a “tsunami of hate”, as well another victim who had expressed disgust at one of his YouTube videos.
The offences which he was found guilty of ranged from 2012 until 2021.
What did the Jeremy Vine say?
Appearing as a witness at the trial, Mr Vine outlined the online abuse he had been subjected to at the hands of Belfield.
He told jurors: “It felt like I had a fish hook in my face and my flesh was being torn, and the only way to avoid further pain was to stay completely still.”
Mr Vine labelled Belfield a “troll”, adding: “This is the Jimmy Savile of trolling.”
What happened in court?
Belfield listened as prosecutors told jurors that he had developed a “dislike, almost hatred” of Mr Vine, after Belfield falsly accused him of stealing a £1,000 charity donation which had been made by the BBC to a memorial fund set up in honour of a friend of Mr Vine.
They also argued that Belfield had become “disgruntled” after leaving his position at the BBC and “wasn’t prepared to move on”.
Prosecutor John McGuinness QC said: “It is not suggested the defendant’s conduct involved physical stalking … although such was the effect of what Alex Belfield did that some were, in fact, worried about the possibility of Mr Belfield turning up at their homes.
“The stalking which this case is concerned with is of a different type – and is more akin to internet trolling.
“The alleged victims did not want to be contacted by Alex Belfield, they did not want to see or hear or know what it was that he was saying about them.
“But he went ahead and he did it anyway, the prosecution says, relentlessly harassing them, knowing or being aware he was harassing them – to the extent that what he did caused them serious alarm or distress which affected their daily lives for the worse.”
Belfield instisted that he had been the victim of a social media “pile-on” and “witch hunt” after exercising his freedom of speech.
As the verdict was read out, Belfield was said to have shown no emotion and wrote notes of small pieces of paper.
Mr Justice Saini, who was overseeing the trial, told Belfield he would need to be “extra careful about your online communications”, adding: “There’s a good chance of a custodial sentence.”