Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis has spoken out over how a 20-year campaign of harassment at the hands of a former university friend is destroying her life as he was jailed for nearly four years.
Ms Maitlis, who is Jewish, said she had been let down by the criminal justice system and Edward Vines’s unwanted attention was upsetting her husband and scaring her children.
Vines, 47, was jailed by a judge at Oxford Crown Court for 45 months after admitting two breaches of an indefinite restraining order banning him from contacting the BBC journalist.
The court heard that Vines – who had briefly become friends with Ms Maitlis while they were both students at Cambridge University – had written letters to her while serving a previous prison sentence for earlier breaches of the restraining order.
He had also written again after his release from prison while living in a bail hostel and subject of licence conditions.
Judge Peter Ross described this as “wholly unsatisfactory” and gave the probation service and the governor at HMP Bullingdon 10 days for a written explanation.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Ms Maitlis, who was not present, said: “When I heard that Edward Vines had breached his restraining order I felt scared and let down.
“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.
“It has affected my relationship with my husband who is frustrated that we cannot get to the bottom of this problem even though we have been tackling it through the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts for over 20 years and it has scared my children who thought the threat had gone away – albeit temporarily whilst he was behind bars.
“It has affected my ability to do my work – I am constantly thinking of where I am being sent and whether he will be attempting to track me down.
“And it affects every day decisions like how I leave the house and how I get to work, what time I feel able to come home at night, I work late nights often.
“It also makes me jumpy around strangers for no reason as I fear any advance might be him.
“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 constant sense of suspicion and fear has been badly damaged.”