Man 'obsessed' with Emily Maitlis jailed for restraining order breach

BBC News presenter Emily Maitlis
Image caption BBC News presenter Emily Maitlis met Edward Vines when they were students at Cambridge University

A man has been jailed for three years after being convicted of breaching restraining orders not to contact BBC presenter Emily Maitlis and her family.

Edward Vines, 46, sent letters to the journalist and her mother accusing her of making up allegations of harassment.

His trial at Oxford Crown Court heard he had an "ongoing obsession" with the Newsnight presenter.

Ms Maitlis, 45, had said contact from Vines made her "worry about my safety and that of my family".

The jury heard the letters focused on a friendship the pair formed while studying at Cambridge University in 1990.

Vines, 46, of Grosvenor Road, Oxford had always admitted breaching the order, but said he was left with "no alternative" after Ms Maitlis failed to explain the breakdown in their friendship 25 years earlier, months after Vines told his fellow undergraduate he loved her.

'Unshakeable obsession'

The court also heard he had been seeing a psychotherapist for five years to try to make sense of the former friendship.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Edward Vines has been seeing a psychotherapist for five years

Jurors took less than an hour to find Vines guilty of two counts of breaching a restraining order imposed in 2009, by sending two letters to Ms Maitlis and emails and letters to her mother, Marion Maitlis, between 10 May and 26 June 2015.

Passing sentence, judge Peter Ross said Vines has "plagued" the presenter's life.

"You never had any reasonable excuse to contact Ms Maitlis. You have an unshakeable obsession underpinned by a delusion that a relationship existed.

"You have known that for 25 years this woman wanted nothing to do with you," he added.

In a statement read in court during the trial, Ms Maitlis said she had not read the letter and had handed it straight to the BBC's security department when she saw Vines's name on it.

"When Edward Vines contacts me it causes me considerable stress and makes me worry about my safety and that of my family," the statement said.

Vines, who was flanked in the dock by nurses from the secure hospital where he currently resides, has previous convictions including for breaches of restraining orders in 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014 and also earlier this year.

On Monday, he received an 18-month sentence for each of count of breaching a restraining order to run concurrently.

That sentence is to run consecutively with another 18-month sentence for the two counts he pleaded guilty to earlier this year.

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