Man admits sending greeting cards with rape threats to BBC presenter Alex Lovell

A man has admitted sending a barrage of greeting cards including rape threats to BBC presenter Alex Lovell.

Gordon Hawthorn, 68, pleaded guilty to a charge of stalking involving serious alarm or distress after targeting the BBC Points West host.

Avon and Somerset Police said Lovell had been receiving cards for four years before she contacted officers in January 2016 because they become more graphic and threatening – including threats to commit rape.

They were usually signed “Gordon” with five crosses and often had an animal pictured on the front, which was regularly a cat.

A handwritten message in a greetings card sent by Gordon Hawthorn
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The cards were usually signed with five crosses

Hawthorn, from Street, Somerset, appeared at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Thursday where he admitted sending cards to Lovell between 1 January 2016 and 16 March 2018.

Describing her ordeal, Ms Lovell said: “He stole two years of my freedom with his persistent threats of rape.

“Nowhere felt safe and every day I would look over my shoulder wondering if he was as near as he said he was. He repeatedly described how he would attack me and that he had raped before.

“In a situation like this, you don’t know who your aggressor is – you only know who they claim to be. ‘Gordon’ portrayed himself as obsessive and sexually violent.”

May Li, prosecuting, told the court that the cards initially contained “infatuated comments” about Lovell but the language and tone changed by early 2016 and became more sexual and threatening.

One of the cards sent to Alex Lovell by Gordon Hawthorn
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The cards often featured cats on the front

One card received on January 12 read: “Make no mistake Alex that I am going to have sex with you this year, even if it means I have to rape you.”

After reporting the matter to police, Lovell received further cards threatening to rape her.

These included dates on which the defendant said he would have sex with the presenter and were more “sinister and dark” than previous cards.

On November 29 last year, Lovell received a card that claimed Hawthorn had previously raped other women and kept their underwear as a trophy.

Ms Li said Hawthorn’s offending caused “serious distress” to Lovell and he faced between one to four years in prison.

Magistrates told Hawthorn his offending required a “greater punishment” and will be dealt with by a crown court judge in January.

Lovell, who has been presenting on BBC Points West since 2005, also worked on Brainteaser on Channel Five and a live shopping channel.

She urged anyone in a similar situation to act.

“Please can I urge anybody who is receiving persistent unwanted attention, threats or intimidation to tell the police,” she said.

“Don’t keep it to yourself because no-one should be able to rule or affect your life through fear.”

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