Jeremy Vine describes Alex Belfield’s ‘avalanche of hate’ during criminal harassment trial | UK News
TV and radio presenter Jeremy Vine has given evidence in court against a former BBC broadcaster accused of harassment, describing how he was the target of an “avalanche of hate”.
Vine, who presents on BBC Radio 2 and Channel 5, spoke at Nottingham Court during the trial of former BBC Radio Leeds presenter Alex Belfield.
Vine said Belfield waged a campaign of abuse against him via social media and YouTube.
He told a jury: “He’s not a regular troll here. He’s the Jimmy Savile of trolling.
Referring to videos shown in court from Belfield’s YouTube show, Vine said he wished he hadn’t watched some of the content.
He said: “Looking at this man is like swimming in the sewer.
“I said to myself, ‘This is absolutely disgusting’…I found it shocking and distressing and it worried me.”
Vine told the court he was once targeted by a stalker who physically followed him in real life, but said that person was “a picnic” compared to Belfield.
At one point, Vine said, “I notice the defendant smiling throughout my testimony. It won’t stop me.
Prosecutors allege Belfield, 42, caused serious concern or distress to Vine, former host of BBC Radio Leeds mid-morning show Stephanie Hirst and BBC Radio Northampton’s Bernie Keith.
Opening the Crown’s case against Belfield, prosecutor John McGuinness QC said Vine had been subjected to a “constant bombardment” of harassing tweets and YouTube videos in 2020.
The court was told that Belfield, from Mapperley, Nottingham, started out as a local radio broadcast assistant and in recent years had set up a YouTube channel known as Celebrity Radio.
He denies eight counts of alleged harassment that took place between 2012 and 2021, including three counts relating to two managers and another presenter who worked at BBC Radio Leeds.
Vine said: “I felt like I had a hook in my face and my flesh was ripping and the only way to avoid more pain was to stay completely still.
“I was brought down so low. I just thought, ‘There’s no point in broadcasting if the effect is that I have this’.
He told the court he received 5,000 to 10,000 hateful tweets after the defendant’s comments.
The case was adjourned to Thursday.