YouTuber and cultural commentator Alex Belfield jailed for stalking
The decision was revealed today in Nottingham
Cultural commentator and YouTuber Alex Belfield has been sentenced following a judgment of four counts of stalking.
The former pundit "caused serious alarm or distress to two victims" – BBC Radio Northampton presenter Bernie Keith and theatre videographer Ben Hewis, formerly deputy editor of WhatsOnStage.
The 42 year-old Belfield was also found guilty of the alternative and lesser charge of "simple stalking" of TV broadcaster Jeremy Vine and theatre blogger Philip Dehaney.
He has been sentenced to five years and a half years in jail. Belfield will serve half of his sentence in prison and the remainder on licence. Restraining orders have also been granted in relation to all of the complainants, including those Belfield was not convicted of stalking.
The trial has been taking place over the summer, with Hewis, Vine and more all providing evidence in the case. Belfield was said to have sent abusive messages to the victims and their family members. He reportedly sent Hewis' pregnant wife a threatening message with a picture of her baby scan attached.
Hewis said in a statement today: "Since first encountering Alex Belfield in 2019, not a day has gone by without me losing countless waking and sleeping hours, terrified about what he might do next to target me and my family. For almost three years I've been subjected to the most painfully personal attacks.
"Belfield has waged a relentless, multi-pronged intimidation and harassment campaign that has left me psychologically and emotionally drained of the vim and vigour that defined my character before I had the misfortune of coming across him. Where I was once optimistic and motivated, I am now more often the opposite. I worry this will take a long time to repair, I know I won't ever be the same person I once was."
"On many occasions he tweeted lies to my clients, telling them I'd avoided contact from the police and was perverting the course of justice, painting me out to be a liar and a criminal to people I've spent years developing a relationship with."