An “obsessive” stalker who has harassed BBC presenter Emily Maitlis for more than 25 years has told a jury he had to breach a restraining order “to prove my innocence”.
Edward Vines is alleged to have attempted to breach a restraining order against former Cambridge University friend Ms Maitlis six further times between May 31 last year and September 21 this year.
The 51-year-old told a jury at Nottingham Crown Court that “the pressure got to me” when he pleaded guilty to an initial charge of harassment in 2002, saying Wandsworth Prison inmates “didn’t like” the comparisons made to the murder of TV presenter Jill Dando.
Jurors were previously told the defendant 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.
Representing himself as he took to the witness box on Thursday, Vines told the court it was “absurd to make a comparison” with the Dando case because he “wasn’t a threat to Emily”.
Distributing a newspaper article about the comparisons made between Ms Maitlis and the Dando case, Vines said: “As a postgraduate English Language teacher, with that article circulating in the media, I was scared for my safety.
“There were growing threats and it was a hostile environment (in prison).”
Ms Maitlis interviewed the Duke of York in November last year, which led to Andrew stepping back from official public duties for the foreseeable future after criticism over his unsympathetic tone and lack of remorse about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.
Vines is currently standing trial accused of writing six letters addressed to the journalist or her mother, Marion Maitlis, from HMP Nottingham which were intercepted by prison staff.
Telling jurors his reasons for writing the letters, the defendant said: “The only thing I thought I could do to prove my innocence was to breach the order and argue I had a reasonable excuse to breach it.
“(In the letters) there is legal argument that a judge or a lawyer is supposed read and see the light.
“I still haven’t had my day in court or the alleviation of having a trial.
“I’m trying to be as reasonable as possible in my letters. I was just unable to tell her I loved her in the way that I should have done.”
Vines denies all six charges.
The trial continues.