Man admits sending threatening cards to BBC presenter

Programme Name: n/a - TX: 20100101 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:   - (C) BBC - Photographer: Rolf Marriott
Programme Name: n/a - TX: 20100101 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: - (C) BBC - Photographer: Rolf Marriott

A man has admitted sending threatening greetings cards to a BBC regional news presenter.

Gordon Hawthorn, 68, pleaded guilty to one charge of stalking involving serious alarm or distress to Alex Lovell, who works for BBC Points West.

The defendant, of Street, Somerset, appeared before Bristol Magistrates’ Court to admit sending cards to Ms Lovell between January 1 2016 and March 16 this year.

He sent “written correspondence” to Ms Lovell, of the BBC’s regional centre on Whiteladies Road in Bristol.

His conduct “amounted to stalking and caused Ms Alexandra Lovell serious alarm or distress, which had an adverse effect on her usual day-to-day activities”, the charge states.

Chair of the bench Dr Nancy North told Hawthorn: “The offence that we have before us today is so serious that you need a greater punishment than we can give you.”

Hawthorn admitted one charge of stalking involving serious alarm or distress, contrary to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

Prosecuting, May Li told the court: “The complainant in this case is a high-profile television presenter who works for BBC Points West.

“Since 2012, Ms Lovell has been receiving greetings cards addressed to her at the BBC from an individual who signed the cards ‘Gordon’.

“The cards have always been addressed to the BBC with a Bristol sorting office code, which means that they could have been sent from anywhere across the South West of England.

“By January 12, 2016 the language and tone of the cards changed. They became more sexual and threatening. Ms Lovell and the BBC security team agreed that the situation should be reported to the police.”

Earlier this year, Avon and Somerset Police released images of cards sent to Ms Lovell and revealed she had been receiving them for six years.

The force said she contacted officers in January 2016, as the cards had become more graphic and threatening since 2014 – including threats to commit rape.

Cards were usually signed “Gordon” with five crosses, one large X and four small x around it.

They were always written in capitals and often had an animal pictured on the front, regularly cats.

Representing Hawthorn, Robyn Rowland agreed that his client should be sentenced at the Crown Court.

Ms Lovell hosted Brainteaser on Channel Five in 2002 after working on a live shopping channel.

She has been presenting on BBC Points West since 2005.

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