A man who stalked a BBC presenter with letters in which he threatened to rape her has been jailed.
Gordon Hawthorn, 69, of Street, Somerset, sent the threats to Points West’s Alex Lovell over six years.
She began receiving cards at the BBC’s regional centre on Whiteladies Road, Bristol, in 2012.
Jailing Hawthorn for two and a half years, Bristol Crown Court judge Martin Picton said the letters had made Ms Lovell “frightened and miserable”.
Hawthorn had previously pleaded guilty at the city’s magistrates’ court to one count of stalking involving serious alarm or distress.
He sent the presenter letters for more than six years but they became more threatening between January 2016 and March 2018, police said.
His conduct “amounted to stalking and caused Ms Lovell serious alarm or distress, which had an adverse effect on her usual day-to-day activities”, the charge stated.
Ms Lovell, 45, said she had suffered panic attacks and at times had been “convinced he was near”.
“He said… that he was watching, that he was close enough to smell my hair.”
“There were four years of cards that were just filthy, and then suddenly there were two years of threats that got progressively worse.
“He would talk about how he was going to do it and it was very physical.
“In my mind he was sexually aggressive, misogynistic, strong and frightening.”
Hawthorn was caught following a police appeal, which led to a member of the public telling officers she had received a similar card.
Tests showed his DNA matched that found on cards sent to Ms Lovell.
Judge Picton said Hawthorn chose to send “disgusting frightening letters” to the presenter.
“The letters you sent caused distress and fear. She knew the author of those letters was watching.
“When out and about she couldn’t be sure you wouldn’t be watching for her.”
Det Ch Insp Simon Brickwood from Avon and Somerset Police said Hawthorn was “paying the price for his cruel campaign of harassment”.
“This case highlights the fact that stalking doesn’t have to be physically watching or following someone.”
He praised Ms Lovell for her “bravery in speaking out about her distressing ordeal to encourage other victims of stalking and harassment to seek help and report offences”.
Source BBC News