Oliver Pridmore

Nottingham Live

Since starting my full-time journalism career, I have worked for two publications. I started at the Lincolnshire Echo and Lincolnshire Live in July 2021, before moving to the Nottingham Post and Nottinghamshire Live in August 2022. Since being at the Nottingham Post, one of the biggest stories that we have been covering as a team is the trial and eventual conviction of the YouTuber and stalker Alex Belfield. During the trial, one of the most prominent witnesses giving evidence was the BBC and Channel 5 presenter Jeremy Vine, who particularly created headlines when describing Belfield as the "Jimmy Savile" of trolling. Given that Mr Vine is a well-known figure and given the power of his evidence in court, we felt that he would be a good interview subject following the trial to gain his perspective on Belfield and to give a sense of what it was like being pursued by him. Conscious that he had already given interviews to The Sunday Times and to BBC Newsnight, I methodically went through each of these interviews to determine what ground had already been covered and therefore to see what else we could learn from him ourselves. Top of my list was to delve deeper into his views on social media, given that he had been incredibly vocal in his previous interviews about the negative role played by social media companies in the Belfield affair, and yet he himself has also amassed a large following on Twitter. I therefore wanted to ask if the episode had caused him to reflect on his own presence on social media, and he told me that he and his wife were still discussing the possibility of him coming off social media altogether. This was just one of the important statements to come out of my interview with Jeremy Vine, alongside his view that the case represented the "peak" of online harassment and that he hoped Belfield would come out of prison a changed man. The piece resulting from the interview I feel gives a comprehensive perspective from one of Alex Belfield's victims about what it was like being pursued by a man who had come to be familiar to Nottingham Post readers given our coverage of the court trial.