An obsessed stalker who has had a three-decade fixation with 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 Ms 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 has shown “breath-taking persistence” in his efforts to contact his victim – saying it was clear he saw the restraining order as “meaningless”.
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 Cambridge University together in 1990.
Vines 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 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 Ms 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 “life-long 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 breath-taking 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.”
Ms Maitlis interviewed the Duke of York in 2020, which led to 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 ahead of the sentencing hearing.
Outlining the reasons why Ms Maitlis declined to provide a statement, Mr Way said: “The defendant has persistently maintained… that he will continue to write to Emily and Marion Maitlis.
“The court can properly infer the impact of such long and persistent offending on the Maitlis family.
“It is indicative of how much they are affected by these proceedings that the defendant causes.”
In the trial, Mr Way told jurors he demonstrated a “persistent and obsessive fixation” with Ms Maitlis.
Opening the case, he said: “This case has a long and unhappy history.
“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.
“His compulsive behaviour towards her resulted in a conviction against him before the West London Magistrates’ Court on September 19 2002 for pursuing a course of conduct which amounted to harassment.”
Mr Way continued: “His persistent behaviour towards her resulted in a conviction against him. That resulted in the first of two restraining orders imposed against him.
“Since that time he has, the prosecution assert, systematically, and with increasing frequency, attempted to breach that order.
“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: “In this latest case, all eight letters were intercepted by prison staff and so Vines’ only accomplishment was to significantly extend his detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
“Sadly, he is 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.”