Emily Maitlis stalker jailed again after 20th attempt to break restraining order

·3-min read

A stalker with a three-decade "obsession" with Emily Maitlis has been jailed for eight years after attempting to breach a restraining order for the 20th time.

Edward Vines wrote eight letters addressed to Maitlis and her mother expressing his "unrequited" love for the former Newsnight presenter, a court heard.

He tried to send the letters from HMP Nottingham between May 2020 and December 2021.

A judge at Nottingham Crown Court told Vines he had shown "breathtaking persistence" in his efforts to contact Maitlis, saying it was clear the defendant saw the restraining order as "meaningless".

Jurors were told that Vines had "systematically and with increasing frequency" breached two separate restraining orders imposed on him in 2002 and 2009 - with 12 breaches to his name and seven separate prosecutions.

For the final two of his previous breaches, Vines was jailed for three years after a judge said he feared there was "no sight of this ever ending" and described the defendant's behaviour as a "life-long obsession".

In one of his letters to Maitlis, Vines told her he would "continue to brood and to write letters in prison", unless she spoke to him about "her behaviour" while they were at Cambridge University together in 1990.

Stalker had 'insatiable desire' to contact Maitlis

The 52-year-old previously stood trial in October last year and after proceedings were halted due to medical issues, he wrote two further letters in which he attempted to blame Maitlis for not admitting to being "attracted to him".

He denied eight counts of attempting to breach a restraining order, but was unanimously convicted of all counts by a jury.

Prosecutor Ian Way spoke of Vine's "insatiable desire" to speak with Maitlis, with the stalker admitting he would send letters to her if he was freed from prison.

Despite the lengthy prison sentence and the imposition of a restraining order, Judge Mark Watson told the defendant he "remained undeterred and continued in (his) efforts".

He told Vines: "In my judgment, you have shown breathtaking persistence and a complete disregard for the order and the proceedings you were awaiting.

"The only thing stopping you from contacting her is your continued imprisonment.

"It is an obsession from which you have been unable to escape."

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'A futile campaign of harassment'

Maitlis - who conducted an infamous interview with Prince Andrew in 2019 - declined to give a victim impact statement to the court ahead of the sentencing hearing.

The journalist has previously told how the harassment "scared" her children and reminded her that Vines "remains a constant threat in my life".

During the trial, Mr Way told jurors he demonstrated a "persistent and obsessive fixation" with Ms Maitlis.

He said: "For a period in excess of three decades, the defendant has demonstrated a persistent and obsessive fixation with the BBC journalist and broadcaster Emily Maitlis, whom he met at university in the 1990s.

"He can't let go of something that he perceived was a wrong to him 30 years in the past, and that, we say, is what is driving him."

Nottinghamshire Police's Sergeant Carl Holland, who led the investigation, said Vines was "wasting his life by continuing this futile campaign of harassment".

"We can only hope reality now finally dawns on him, and he stops committing these offences," he added.