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A former university friend of BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis has claimed turning up at her marital home unannounced in the late evening is not stalking – describing his behaviour as “a Hugh Grant sort of thing”.
Edward Vines is alleged to have attempted to breach a restraining order against Ms Maitlis six further times by writing letters between May 31 last year and September 21 this year following more than 25 years of harassment.
During cross-examination at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday, the 51-year-old said writing “testy and volatile letters” to the journalist “is not so unreasonable that you should receive a criminal conviction for it”.
Asked by prosecutor Ian Way if he believed he was above the law, Vines replied: “Emily seems to think she is.”
The defendant added: “I think I am breaching the order and I accept that I have, but I do not accept that I am harassing her by doing so.”
Vines reiterated to jurors that he felt pressured to plead guilty to an initial charge of harassment in 2002 because he did not want to be “subjected to further attacks” by inmates at Wandsworth Prison.
The court was previously told the defendant 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.
Vines is currently standing trial accused of writing six letters addressed to the journalist or her mother, Marion Maitlis, from HMP Nottingham, which were intercepted by prison staff.
Representing himself as he took to the witness box, he refused to answer the question: “What was your reasonable excuse for writing these letters?”
Answering Mr Way’s supplementary questions, Vines said: “It is not wholly reasonable to have this problem that I have about Emily.
“It is not totally reasonable because I failed to tell her I loved her.”
Mr Way then asked: “Is it reasonable to write to a woman… a testy or volatile letter?”
Vines responded: “It is not so unreasonable that you should receive a criminal conviction for it.”
The defendant repeated claims to the jury that Ms Maitlis had lied about the extent of his behaviour in the lead-up to his first criminal conviction, accusing her of perjury.
“Did she lie that you were badgering her or pestering her?” Mr Way asked. “Was that not the truth?”
“I have never snooped around, and that is to my credit,” Vines responded.
Mr Way then asked if the defendant believed turning up at her workplace and then her marital home at 10.30pm was stalking.
Vines replied: “I would describe it as a Hugh Grant sort of thing. It was a bit clumsy.”
Vines denies all six charges.
The trial continues.