July 2017

Sara Cox stalker who hoarded indecent images of children jailed

A convicted paedophile who stalked BBC Radio 2 DJ Sara Cox by sending her disturbing letters and hoarded indecent images of children has been sentenced to 16 months in jail.

Anthony Collins, 50, pleaded guilty to harassment relating to notes posted to the 42-year-old Bolton-born host of The Great Pottery Throw Down on BBC Two.

Maidstone Crown Court heard Collins bought her address details online for £17 and sent her letters handwritten in felt-tip pen along with a printed photo of Cox, referred to by her married name Cyzer.

Prosecutor Mary Jacobson said Ms Cox received an envelope on January 24 containing two letters in which Collins wrote that he was lonely, psychologically disturbed and had a long criminal history.

He added that he was poor, living unhappily in a bedsit and he asked Cox to invite him to BBC Radio 2’s studios, saying she was “lovely, warm, kind and sexy”.

In one of the letters, Collins wrote: “Sara, I’m Tony Collins, I’m 49, tall with green eyes. I know you are married to Ben Cyzer and know he is a successful man. I’m unsuccessful in my life.”

Collins referred to Ms Cox’s fondness for dogs and horses, and named her dog in one of the letters. He also included his mobile phone number and a passport picture of himself, Ms Jacobson went on.

On February 7, Cox’s husband also received a handwritten letter at his workplace, along with a picture of his celebrity wife holding a child, and a diagram with the words “Cancer Analysis” in capital letters.

Ms Jacobson said: “Needless to say that when Ms Cox found out her husband had received a letter she was immediately much more scared, as she put it, and the matter was reported to the police the next day.”

When Collins was arrested on February 10, police found indecent images of girls aged four to 15 in Collins’ bedside table drawers.

Officers also discovered a fake BBC visitor’s pass, a Google map print out of Ms Cox’s sister’s work address and more unposted letters, as well as pictures and press cuttings, Ms Jacobson said.

In addition to admitting harassment, Collins, of Afghan Road, Chatham, Kent, pleaded guilty at North Kent Magistrates’ Court to two counts of possessing indecent images and two counts of making indecent images of children.

Ms Jacobson said that when Collins was questioned, he said he “wanted to be in the news” and fully admitted that his actions amounted to harassment.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Martin Joy was critical of prosecutors for not additionally charging Collins with breaching a previous restraining order, which carries a maximum five-year jail term.