Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Author Richard Brittain jailed for 'bad review' attack

Richard Brittain and his book The World Rose Image copyright Amazon
Image caption Richard Brittain was angry about a review Paige Rolland had given about his book The World Rose

A former Countdown champion who travelled 400 miles to attack a teenager who gave his book a bad review has been jailed for 30 months.

Richard Brittain, 28, used Facebook to track victim Paige Rolland, 18, to the Asda store in Glenrothes where she worked.

He then smashed a full wine bottle over her head - knocking her unconscious.

A month earlier Brittain stalked a university classmate, Ella Durant, after she moved from London to Glasgow.

He used her Twitter and Instagram accounts to find where she worked and turned up on two occasions to speak to her.

Sheriff Martin Jones QC granted an indefinite order preventing Brittain from using any electronic device to monitor the movements, follow, communicate or contact or approach either of his victims.

He also ordered Brittain to be monitored in the community for a year after his release from prison and told him "the only disposal in this case is a custodial one".

Bad review

Earlier this month at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Brittain, whose address was given as Palgrave, Bedford, pled guilty to engaging in a course of conduct which caused Miss Durant fear or alarm by repeatedly pursuing her, approaching her, following her and publishing a story about stalking her in September 2014.

He also admitted assaulting Miss Rolland with a bottle to her severe injury on 3 October, 2014 at Asda, Fullerton Road, Glenrothes.

The court heard Brittain was angered when Miss Rolland left a bad review of his book, The World Rose, on a website.

At the Asda store he went to the alcohol aisle, picked up a bottle of wine, then approached his victim - who was kneeling down - and struck her on the back of the head with the bottle.

Miss Rolland was taken to hospital suffering from a cut to her head and treated for a head injury.

Cell masts

Using cell masts Brittain's phone was traced as having been in Glenrothes, North Berwick and London the following day.

He was traced by the police and his house was searched, which revealed travel documents and evidence that he had been in Glasgow on an earlier date.

The court heard Brittain met his other victim, 23-year-old Miss Durant, when he was a student at the University of Greenwich in London.

He went to student union bar where she worked and where they saw each other almost every day.

Brittain asked Miss Durant if she wanted to be on his team for University Challenge.

The court heard that he began to show his affection for her but she was not interested in having a relationship with him and blocked him from her social media sites.

Miss Durant became "sufficiently concerned" that she reported Britain to the Metropolitan police and the student union before moving to another part of England.

After moving she received a valentine's card from Brittain - who took her address from the University Challenge application form she submitted.

In June last year she saw Brittain on Buchanan Street in Glasgow as she walked towards Argyle Street.

'Benevolent stalker'

She avoided him after her waved at her, then called police.

She was taken home by police but two days later she saw Brittain again on Kilmarnock Road and he spoke to her, despite her screaming in the hope of getting the attention of others.

Brittain asked if they could talk and Miss Durant went back to her work, and phoned the police.

On September 23, 2014 Miss Durant saw a link on her Twitter page to a blog called "The Benevolent stalker".

The website referenced events involving her and Brittain, including the incident on Kilmarnock Road.

She made a copy of the information on the site and contacted the police.

Defence counsel Michael Meehan tried to persuade the sheriff not to jail Brittain, saying he was either suffering from paranoid schizophrenia or a personality disorder.

He said that it was obvious there was some problem even from school days and added "when sitting exams he would be put in a room on his own because he couldn't sit in a hall with others".

The court has heard that Brittain apologised for the attack on Miss Rolland by contacting her through social media.

It also heard that he knew Miss Durant was in Glasgow because of her Twitter and Instagram accounts.

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