Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis criticised a clear “systemic failure” in the criminal justice system as she revealed she fears her stalker will never stop.
The BBC journalist compared enduring Edward Vines’ 20-year harassment campaign to “living with a chronic illness” after he was jailed again this week.
Obsessive Vines, 47, has stalked the TV presenter since they were both students at Cambridge University in the mid-1990s.
“This has literally been going on for 20 years. It feels like sort of a chronic illness,” Ms Maitlis told BBC Radio 5 live.
“It’s not that it ever goes away. It’s not that I ever believe it will stop or he will stop or the system will manage to prevent it properly.”
Vines was jailed for 45 months on Tuesday for continuing to breach his restraining order by writing to his victim from prison and his bail hostel.
The case prompted the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to “apologise unreservedly” for the blunders and the distress caused to Ms Maitlis.
“We have significantly strengthened our monitoring procedures to prevent incidents like this from happening again,” an MoJ spokeswoman said.
“We would like to reassure Ms Maitlis that any future correspondence involving this offender will be carefully checked, with staff reminded of the sensitivities of this particular case.”
In an interview on the Emma Barnett Show on Thursday, Ms Maitlis described her experiences of the criminal justice system as “like bashing your head against a wall”, having repeatedly helped prosecutors jail her stalker.
“When it’s been long, it’s been 20 years’ worth of harassment, to actually keep on having to do this is a reliving of the same pain that the actual crime has had on you in the first place,” she said.
“The onus is on the victim – I hate that word. The onus is on the person who is being stalked, to keep having to explain each time what has happened.
“You feel like saying ‘Here is a man who has been convicted of the same crime and been given the same length sentence over and over again. That cannot be right.’
“I think there is clearly a systemic failure in this. So, for example, a couple of years’ ago, he broke his injunction, and it’s my responsibility to then have to sort that out.”