Stalker who harassed Emily Maitlis for 27 years jailed for breaching restraining order

Edward Vines, left, has been sentenced after sending letters to Emily Maitlis's mother. (PA Images)
Edward Vines, left, has been sentenced after sending letters to Emily Maitlis's mother. (PA Images)

An obsessive stalker who harassed Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis for more than 25 years has been jailed for three years after breaching his restraining order for a 12th time.

Edward Vines, 49, admitted in January to sending two letters to the BBC presenter’s mother Marion saying he was in love with her and was “distressed” when she ceased contact with him.

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”.

Judge Stuart Rafferty QC 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.

File photo dated 05/09/18 of Emily Maitlis. Speaking on Good Morning Britain, the Newsnight presenter has voiced her support for Newswatch host and colleague, Samira Ahmed, who is pursuing an equal pay complaint against the BBC.
Edward Vines stalked Emily Maitlis for 27 years (PA Images)

“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.”

Vines was given a restraining order in 2009 after years of stalking Maitlis, and was jailed for 45 months in January 2018 for continuing to breach the order by writing to her from his prison and bail hostel.

It led Maitlis and the judge who sentenced him that month – Judge Peter Ross – to question how Vines has been able to continue writing to her from HMP Bullingdon in Oxfordshire.

At Vines’ sentencing last month, Judge Stuart Rafferty QC said he had a “long-term fixation” on Maitlis and that it was “not clear to the court what [Vines’s] present mental state is”.

It followed Vines’ guilty plea for breaching his restraining order on 7 May and 16 May last year and again on 6 October, when he wrote to Marion Maitlis asking her to pass a letter on to her daughter.

Vines and Maitlis briefly became friends when they both attended Cambridge University in the mid-1990s.

Maitlis has previously spoken about how his behaviour had upset her husband, scared her children and affected her work.

She said in January 2018: “When I heard that Edward Vines had breached his restraining order I felt scared and let down.

Edward Vines. (SWNS)
Edward Vines. (SWNS)

“Scared because it meant that even from within the prison system the perpetrator was able to reach me – let down because the system had been unable to stop him getting in touch even though the crime he is serving time for is harassment through unwanted and ongoing contact.

“Altogether the breach has been a reminder for me that this man remains a constant threat in my life and my family’s life and that my ability to do my work, hang out with my children and lead a normal family life without a constant sense of suspicion and fear has been badly damaged.”

In a previous court hearing, Vines, who represented himself, had asked whether he could call Maitlis as a witness.

Finishing his sentencing remarks on Monday, Judge Rafferty said: “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.”