Belfast Telegraph

BBC presenter ‘afraid to go out alone’ during stalking ordeal

Alex Lovell was sent rape threats by Gordon Hawthorn for two years.

Alex Lovell (BBC)
Alex Lovell (BBC)

BBC presenter Alex Lovell has said she was afraid to go out on her own while she was being sent rape threats by a stalker.

The Points West journalist said she feared the man sending her threatening and obsessive cards might be a “big, strong man” capable to hurting her.

She told ITV’s Lorraine: “This chap had been writing to me for about four years very regularly, which is very creepy in itself, and the cards that came were always very intense, very suggestive in a sexual way.

“I would always recognise them because they had a very distinctive cross on the back with little crosses in between.

“One day I saw another card, it was the beginning of the year 2016, I picked it out and there was that distinctive cross but inside he wrote ‘my new year’s resolution is to have sex with you and if you don’t comply I will rape you’, and at that moment I just felt that you could have knocked me over.

“I think part of that was not just the threat of rape, but it was how it had suddenly changed, it had been perverted for a very long time but it wasn’t out of the blue, it wasn’t just a threat from nowhere, which would have been bad enough and that is still terrible, but it was after a very long campaign of attention and fantasy.”

She added: “You can’t go out on your own because you don’t know what this person is, however they claim to be in their letters that is all you can go on.

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Gordon Hawthorn (Ben Birchall/PA)

“Of course, your friends and colleagues are going to try and reassure you so they will say he’s probably just some sad person who is sitting there fantasising, but the trouble is you don’t know and you can only try and read into what is written.”

On January 3, Gordon Hawthorn, 69, was jailed for two years and six months at Bristol Crown Court after he admitted stalking Lovell by sending 38 cards to her at BBC Points West in Bristol over a two-year period.

Lovell said: “That moment when they rang me and said ‘he’s not built like the side of a house, he’s not a young man’ (was a relief).

“He said that he’s raped many times before so you’re thinking he’s this big, strong man, he’s probably quite young, mobile, he’s around, and actually he was living in Somerset, he was older, he didn’t drive.

“All those threats just melted away and I was so happy, I went out on purpose on my own at lunchtime just to get a sandwich because it was such a big deal to be able to do that, although you’re still a bit nervous because you can’t just let it go, but it was completely different from that day.”

PA

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