Wednesday 22 May 2024
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Nottingham

Stalker with ‘obsession’ with former BBC presenter Emily Maitliss jailed again

A stalker who harassed a television presenter for over two decades will spend more years behind bars after he repeatedly attempted to breach a restraining order.

Edward Vines – who was jailed for three years in 2020 over his long-standing “fixation” with former BBC journalist Emily Maitlis – went on trial in July accused of repeatedly trying to send letters to the ex-Newsnight presenter and her mother between May 2020 and December 2021.

His efforts were in vain as all his letters were intercepted by staff at HMP Nottingham. He committed two of the attempted breaches while awaiting trial over the first six letters.

On 25 July, a jury found him guilty of eight attempted breaches and the 52-year-old was back at Nottingham Crown Court today where he was sentenced to a further eight years, of which he’ll serve half before being released on licence.

The restraining order was also amended so that any further attempted breaches would amount to a full breach.

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In passing sentence, Judge Mark Watson told Vines: “You have shown breath-taking persistence and complete disregard for not only the restraining order but also the court proceedings you were awaiting.”

He added: “You do not accept (the restraining order) and you believe this entitles you to ignore it. The only thing preventing you making contact is the protection given to (Ms Maitlis) by your continued imprisonment.”

In considering the sentence, the judge said he was mindful that Vines had made it “plain” he will continue his efforts to contact Ms Maitlis having told the jury he would “continue to be her problem”.

The judge added he was satisfied Vines suffered from a mental disorder that meant he was unable to escape his “obsession” with Ms Maitlis – and that a lengthy custodial sentence was necessary to protect both her and members of her family.

The trial had heard Vines – who met Ms Maitlis when they were students at Cambridge University – was first convicted of harassment in 2002, resulting in him being handed a restraining order.

The jury heard that after a breach in 2008, a fresh restraining order was given in 2008, which stopped Vines from not only contacting Ms Maitlis, who left the BBC earlier this year, but her family as well.

Over the following years, he breached and attempted to breach the order 12 times, involving seven separate prosecutions excluding the eight counts that formed part of this year’s trial.

Today is the third time he has been jailed for breaching the restraining order.

Following today’s sentencing, Sergeant Carl Holland, who led the investigation, said: “I am pleased Vines has once again been held accountable for his actions.

“During the trial, he acknowledged he understood he was prohibited from contacting Ms Maitlis and her family – yet he continued to write letters out of sheer arrogance and disdain for the court orders made to protect them.

“In this latest case, all eight letters were intercepted by prison staff and so Vines’ only accomplishment was to significantly extend his detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

“Sadly, he is wasting his life by continuing this futile campaign of harassment. We can only hope reality now finally dawns on him and he stops committing these offences.

“Finally, I hope this case provides reassurance that Nottinghamshire Police treats all cases of harassment and stalking extremely seriously.

“If you think you or someone you know may be a victim or perpetrator of stalking, please contact us on 101. Alternatively, advice and support is available via the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300, or online at www.suzylamplugh.org.”

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