Alex Belfield was found guilty last month after subjecting victims to ‘avalanche of hatred’
A former BBC local radio DJ has been jailed for five years and 26 weeks for stalking broadcasters including Jeremy Vine and subjecting his victims to an “avalanche of hatred”.
Alex Belfield, 42, was last month found guilty of waging a relentless stalking campaign against broadcasters, with Vine labelling him “the Jimmy Savile of trolling”.
Sentencing Belfield at Nottingham crown court on Friday, Mr Justice Saini told him: “Your offences are so serious, only a custodial sentence can be justified.”
The judge said that while Belfield’s actions were not “traditional stalking … your methods were just as effective a way of intimidating victims and in many ways much harder to deal with”.
He added there had been “no escape” for Belfield’s victims until bail conditions were imposed before his trial, and said he agreed with Vine’s characterisation that the ex-DJ had “weaponised the internet” against those he targeted.
He also ordered indefinite restraining orders be made against Belfield, in favour of his victims and four other individuals.
The trial heard Belfield had repeatedly posted or sent abusive messages, videos and emails to his targets and in recent years had set up a YouTube channel known as Celebrity Radio.
The BBC Radio Northampton presenter Bernie Keith was left feeling suicidal by a “tsunami of hate”, the trial heard, while Vine, a Channel 5 and BBC Radio 2 presenter, described his abuse as “an avalanche of hatred”.
Jurors accepted Belfield had caused serious alarm or distress to two victims and he was found guilty of “simple” stalking in relation to Vine and the theatre blogger Philip Dehany.
Saini said a pre-sentence report showed that, while Belfield “fully acknowledges the distress to victims”, it also “highlights you still appear to focus on the impact on you and feel in certain respects you’ve been unfairly treated”.
Giving evidence in court, Vine said watching Belfield’s videos was “like swimming in sewage” and said: “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.
“I was brought so low. I just thought: ‘There’s no point broadcasting if the effect is that I’ve got this’.”
Jurors convicted Belfield, of Mapperley, Nottingham, of four charges committed between 2012 and 2021.