Man who sent rape threats to BBC presenter Alex Lovell jailed


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A stalker who sent a barrage of chilling greeting cards to a BBC news presenter has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Gordon Hawthorn, 69, stalked Alex Lovell, who works for BBC Points West, from January 1 2016 and March 16 last year.

But Bristol Crown Court heard the defendant sent Ms Lovell, 45, the first cards back in 2012, which were signed “Gordon” with five kisses.

One card read: “Make no mistake Alex that I am going to have sex with you this year, even if it means I have to rape you.” He called it his “New Year’s resolution”.

Other cards were signed “your stalker” and “your soon to be rapist”.

Sentencing, Judge Martin Picton said the regional news anchor felt “disgusted, frightened, and miserable” during the sickening ordeal.

Hawthorn had admitted one charge of stalking involving serious alarm or distress at an earlier hearing.

The court heard he had portrayed himself as a strong man who had previously raped women and was obsessive about Ms Lovell.

But Hawthorn, from Street, Somerset, sent her the disturbing cards on which he handwrote the “graphic and frightening messages”.



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Alex Lovell was taunted for more than two years

Judge Picton said: “What you threatened to do to her was designed to, and did cause her to feel disgusted, frightened, and miserable.

“The cards that you sent were intended to and did cause Mrs Lovell both distress and fear.

“For two years, she could never be sure that she was safe.

“Mrs Lovell would have had an awareness, whenever she was on screen, that the author of those letters was watching and thinking the kind of thoughts you expressed in your messages to her.

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“When out and about she could never be sure the author of the cards was not spying on her or posing a threat to her safety.

“People in the public eye are entitled to the same respect and privacy as everyone else in society.”

In a victim personal statement, Ms Lovell said she felt “like I had been punched in the stomach” when she received the first rape threat.

She experienced panic attacks due to the stress caused by Hawthorn’s cards.

She contacted Avon and Somerset Police in January 2016, following the threat to rape her in a New Year card.



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Hawthorn will spend two-and-a-half years behind bars

Hawthorn has also been banned from contacting Ms Lovell or going to the BBC’s regional centre on Whiteladies Road in Bristol.

Ms Lovell, who has hosted quiz shows on Five in the past and had cameo roles in TV dramas, joined the BBC Points West team in 2005.

The broadcaster has also worked for a live shopping channel.

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