A stalker who has had a three-decade fixation with the former BBC Newsnight presenter 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 her, which he tried to send from HMP Nottingham between May 2020 and December 2021.
A judge at Nottingham crown court told the 52-year-old he had shown “breathtaking persistence” in his efforts to contact his victim – saying it was clear he 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.
In one of his letters to the journalist, he 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 Oxford University together in 1990.
Vines previously stood trial in October last year. After proceedings were halted owing to medical issues, he wrote two further letters in which he attempted to blame the journalist 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 the defendant’s “insatiable desire” to speak with the BBC presenter while he was giving evidence in his latest trial in July – with Vines admitting he would send letters to her if he was freed from prison.
Vines had breached the restraining order on 12 previous occasions – including letters and emails addressed to Maitlis at the BBC.
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” – describing the defendant’s behaviour as a “lifelong obsession”.
Despite the lengthy prison sentence and the imposition of a restraining order, Judge Mark Watson told the defendant on Monday 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. This is just the latest chapter in a much longer history. It seems that having left university and gone your separate ways, you then ruminated over what could have been.
“The existence of the order is meaningless to you. The only thing stopping you from contacting her is your continued imprisonment. It is an obsession from which you have been unable to escape.”
Maitlis interviewed the Duke of York in 2020, which led to Prince Andrew stepping back from official public duties after criticism over his unsympathetic tone and lack of remorse about his friendship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
The broadcaster and her mother declined to give a victim impact statement to the court before the sentencing hearing.