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Officer in charge of criminal investigation into Alex Belfield wins her libel action against him

Posted: 02/05/2024

Detective Constable Janet Percival of Nottinghamshire Police has won her libel action against Alex Belfield, the former BBC radio presenter, who was convicted of criminal harassment in September 2022 and sentenced to five and a half years in prison.

From July 2020, Janet Percival was the officer in charge of the criminal investigation into complaints by a number of individuals, including Jeremy Vine, of harassment/cyber stalking by Belfield. 

Following his radio career, Alex Belfield had been broadcasting videos on a YouTube channel in which he styled himself: ‘Alex Belfield – Voice of Reason’ and which had a viewership of up to 360,000. He also had a website behind a paywall and had conducted a theatre tour in 2022 with Katie Hopkins with the title ‘Two Gobshites Live’.

From March 2021 when the police investigation was underway, Alex Belfield started broadcasting videos making very serious libellous allegations against Janet Percival. Over the course of some 15 videos, he accused her of numerous acts of misconduct and corruption including acting unlawfully in police raids on his home, repeatedly lying to the courts, making threats against him, changing a witness statement to mislead the court, receiving corrupt payments, and unlawfully taking equipment from him. All these allegations were completely false. In fact, Janet Percival had acted professionally and properly as a police officer at all times.
After her letter of claim was rejected in dismissive terms, Janet Percival was left with no option but to start court proceedings for libel against Belfield. These have now been settled on terms which include the payment of a substantial sum in respect of compensation and costs and the reading of a Statement in Open Court.

At the reading of the Statement on 2 May 2024. DC Percival’s solicitor, Jeremy Clarke-Williams of Penningtons Manches Cooper, told the court that: “As a serving police officer [Janet Percival] is unfortunately used to dealing with hostility from people she has arrested, but [Alex Belfield’s] online campaign peddling serious untruths about her was something she could not ignore. It was too damaging.” In turn, Mr Belfield offered a: “… sincere and unqualified apology to Janet Percival for the embarrassment and distress caused to her and for the serious harm caused to her personal and professional reputation.”

Reacting to her success, Janet Percival said: “I am very pleased that through taking this action I have been able to vindicate my reputation, which is very precious to me. I take pride in always conducting myself professionally and honestly as a police officer, and the baseless and false allegations which Mr Belfield broadcast about me were extremely upsetting. It is a huge relief that I can now get on with my police career without this cloud hanging over me.”

Janet Percival was represented by Jeremy Clarke-Williams and Eva McHale of Penningtons Manches Cooper and Kate Wilson, Counsel, of 5RB.

Alex Belfield was represented by Alan Robertshaw of Counsel. 

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