A man who has harassed BBC presenter Emily Maitlis for 25 years has been jailed after breaching a restraining order for the 12th time.
“Persistent and systematic” stalker Edward Vines sent two letters to the star’s mother Marion in 2019 while he was in prison for previous offences, saying he was in love with the Newsnight host and had become “distressed” when she stopped contacting him.
He added he was “troubled” by the way Ms Maitlis had treated him while at Cambridge University in the mid-1990s and claimed she had lied about him at a previous trial.
On Monday, a judge at Nottingham Crown Court said he was worried there was “no sight of this ever ending” saying the defendant had a “life-long obsession” – as Vines was jailed for three years.
The letters to Ms Maitlis’ mother were intercepted by officers at Nottingham Prison, due to an order being made that required his post to be checked before it was delivered.
Vines, 49, pleaded guilty to attempting to breach his restraining order between 7 May and 16 May in 2019, and again on 6 October, by sending a letter to Marion Maitlis, in the hope it reached the presenter.
Sentencing Vines, Judge Stuart Rafferty QC said: “There’s no sight of this ever ending. He has not expressed any remorse at all. It is a sad case.”
He told the defendant: “For whatever reason, you have an obsession with Emily Maitlis and it is your belief that you have been wronged by her and you have been wronged by the law.
“You are convinced that you are in love with her and, no doubt, you think she is in love with you.
“I am afraid I have to sentence you on the basis that you are a long way from any reality dawning on you.
“If you love Emily Maitlis as you say you do, one might be forgiven for saying you have a very strange way of showing it, because you have made her life, in many ways, a misery.”
Judge Rafferty continued: “She can’t live a free life because of you. She is forever looking over her shoulder to see if you are there.
“If you keep breaching the order, all the court can do is lock you up.
“This at the moment has to be treated as a life-long obsession by you. All the court can do is try to protect Ms Maitlis and her family as best as it can.
“Until you can take the step to stop being the unrequited 19-year-old that you were at the start of all of this, nothing will ever change.”
Ms Maitlis had not been asked for a victim impact statement as, according to prosecuting lawyer Ian Way, “each repeated episode compounds the distress”.
He added that since being handed the restraining order, Vines has “persistently and systematically” breached it.
Vine sent letters to the journalist via the BBC and the Newsnight show, as well as to her mother, including one instance where he phoned Marion Maitlis.
Barrister Stefan Fox, defending Vines, said: “There was very little possibility that the letter would have left Nottingham Prison.”