A “persistent and systematic” stalker who has harassed Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis for more than 25 years has been jailed for three years after breaching a restraining order for the 12th time.
Obsessive Edward Vines sent two letters to the BBC journalist’s mother saying he was in love with her and was “distressed” when she ceased contact with him.
The 49-year-old said he had been “troubled” by Ms Maitlis’s treatment of him while at Cambridge University in the mid-1990s – adding that she lied about him during a previous trial.
At Nottingham Crown Court on Monday, a judge said he feared there was “no sight of this ever ending” – describing the defendant’s behaviour as a “life-long obsession”.
The journalist interviewed the Duke of York in November last year, which led to Andrew stepping back from official public duties for the foreseeable future after criticism over his unsympathetic tone and lack of remorse about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.
The defendant’s letters had been intercepted by prison officers after he was placed under public protection, which meant all his letters should be checked before delivery.
Vines, of HMP Nottingham, pleaded guilty to attempting to breach a restraining order between May 7 and May 16 last year, and again on October 6 by sending a letter to Marion Maitlis to pass on to the journalist.
Wearing a beige coat, a blue shirt and spectacles at the hearing, the defendant looked down as he was handed consecutive prison sentences, totalling three years.
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.”
Turning to the defendant, the judge said: “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.”
Prosecutor Ian Way said Ms Maitlis had not been approached for a victim impact statement because “each repeated episode compounds the distress”.
Mr Way said since a sentencing hearing at Oxford Magistrates’ Court, where he was handed a restraining order which extended to Ms Maitlis’s family, including her mother, Vines has “persistently and systematically breached the order”.
He sent letters and emails to Ms Maitlis via the BBC, the Newsnight programme and her mother, including one occasion where he telephoned Marion Maitlis.
Summarising the contents of the letters, Mr Way said: “He was despairing over the situation between Emily and himself, and he did not feel his rights as a defendant were being respected – and until then he would not abide by the order.
“He was troubled by Emily’s treatment of him whilst at university.
“He said he was in love with her and he was distressed when she ceased all contact with him.
“He also stated that she lied about him and that he had not had his say.”
Speaking on behalf of Vines, defence barrister Stefan Fox said: “There was very little possibility that the letter would have left Nottingham Prison.”