A "SCHIZOPHRENIC" who plagued the life of a BBC presenter he was obsessed with has been jailed after hounding her with letters.

Edward Vines stood emotionless yesterday as he was convicted of breaching his restraining order forbidding contact with Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis and her family.

The 46-year-old, who claimed he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, rambled to himself in the dock as Judge Peter Ross condemned him for bringing misery to his victim and leaving her "downright frightened" during his 25 years of persistent contact.

Sentencing Vines to three years in prison at Oxford Crown Court, the judge said: "You have what appears to me a completely unshakeable obsession, underpinned by a complete delusion as to the relationship that had existed between you and Ms Maitlis.

"That is abundantly clear in the extraordinary letters you have written to her. You have known in truth for 25 years that this woman wants nothing to do with you."

During the two-day trial, jurors heard Vines began pestering the journalist after declaring his "unrequited" love for her while studying together at Cambridge University in the 1990s.

The defendant, of Grosvenor Road, Oxford, was convicted in 2002 of harassing Ms Maitlis and was jailed for four months.

He was slapped with the latest restraining order by Oxford Crown Court in January 2009.

But the court heard Vines continued to hound his victim after his conviction, inundating her with letters demanding answers for the breakdown in their friendship at university.

Wearing a beige suit and pale blue shirt, he took the stand yesterday, accompanied by a nurse from the hospital he was a patient at, claiming he had a "reasonable excuse" for breaching the order again last year.

Vines said he accepted sending letters to Ms Maitlis, as well as letters and emails to her mother Marion, telling jurors he wanted to "resolve" differences between him and the journalist and needed answers for her "unkind" behaviour at university.

In one letter, which was sent to the BBC's London base, Vines demanded to know why she became "derogatory" and "scornful" at university.

The court heard in another letter that he accused Ms Maitlis of working for "intelligence services" and luring him into a net.

In a statement read to the court, Ms Maitlis told of her dread after hearing Vines had gone missing in February, fearing for her safety and that of her family.

A jury of six men and six women unanimously convicted Vines of two counts of acting in breach of a restraining order between May 10 and June 26, 2015, after just 52 minutes of deliberating.

Vines was also sentenced for another two counts of the same offence between February 19 and February 23 this year, after admitting the charges in August.