The former DJ of local BBC radio was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for harassing broadcasters, including Jeremy Vine, who was subjected to an “avalanche of hate”.
Alex Belfield has led a relentless campaign to harass broadcasters, and Vine has dubbed him “Jimmy Savile of trolling” after repeatedly posting or sending offensive messages, videos and e-mails.
Belfield, 42, was convicted of four counts of persecution at Nottingham Crown Court in a trial last month.
The jurors admitted that he caused serious anxiety or distress to two victims and was found guilty of “straightforward” harassment in connection with Vine, presenter on Channel 5 and BBC Radio 2, and theater blogger Philip Dehany.
BBC Radio Northampton presenter Bernie Keith felt suicide because of a “tsunami of hate” heard the trial.
Judge Saini, on conviction, told Belfield, who was sitting in the dock taking notes, “Your crimes are so serious that only a prison sentence can be justified.”
Vine also presented evidence against Belfield, telling the jury, “This is no ordinary troll. This is Jimmy Savile trolling.
Describing watching Belfield’s video exit as swimming in the sewage, Mr. Vine said of the defendant’s behavior: “I felt like I had a fish hook in my face and my body was torn and the only way to avoid any further pain was to be completely left over.”
Jurors convicted Belfield of Mapperley, Nottingham, on four charges made between 2012 and 2021.
The judge said the pre-sentencing report found that although Belfield “fully recognizes the suffering of the victims”, it also “emphasizes that you still seem to focus on being influenced by you and feel that you have been treated unfairly in some respects.”
He told Belfield that although it is not traditional persecution, “your methods were just as effective in intimidating the victims and in many ways much more difficult to deal with.”
He said there was no escape for Belfield’s victims until bail conditions were imposed before his trial.
He agreed with Vine’s characterization that the former DJ “armed the Internet” against those he was targeting.
He also ordered the issuance of an indefinite restraining order from near Belfield, in favor of his victims and four others.
Additional reporting by PA