Airline star Leo Jones has been given a five-year restraining order for stalking news presenter Ellie Costello.
A court was told yesterday (24 November) how GB News reporter Costello, 29, suffered a year of ‘sleepless nights’ and ‘constant stress’ as she was stalked by TV travel star Leo Jones, 42.
Dad-of-two Jones had previously appeared on GB News via Zoom, but had never met Costello in real life.
However, he started showing up at locations where she was filming – including, on one occasion, at 5am in her studio, although Costello was not working that day.
Jones would also send her a number of messages on social media.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Costello said: “I was crying in the witness room before I came into court today, it took everything in my body to do it but I wanted the court to hear me in person in my own words what this has done to me.”
Jones, who found fame on ITV reality show Airline before forging a career as a travel expert, was handed a five-year restraining order at St Albans Magistrates’ Court, Hertfordshire, after pleading guilty to causing serious alarm, distress and mental anguish.
He was also handed a suspended jail sentence.
Costello described her stalker as ‘delusional’, saying that he acted as though they were in a relationship.
She also said she suffered a panic attack while working on the day of the Queen’s funeral earlier this year, as Jones appeared on the Long Walk at Windsor as she was broadcasting.
“I’ve been left shaken in the aftermath of Leo Jones getting so close to me,” she said.
“I had a panic attack, I couldn’t breathe or speak.
“He must have followed me after watching my broadcast that morning. I got the sense that he was very delusional.
“Despite the fact we’ve never met in person, he acted as if we were in a relationship.”
Jones had messaged Costello in October 2021 after being interview on GB News, telling her they should present a travel show together.
“I love seeing you in the morning,” he told her.
When she did not respond, in the following days Jones added ‘You take my breath away’, 'You motivate me beyond words', 'I love seeing you', and 'You are my sunshine I love you'.
He then asked Costello: “How long do I have to wait to see you it is driving me insane.”
She finally replied, saying: "Please stop messaging me it is beyond inappropriate.”
The court heard how the messages only stopped for three months before Jones used a separate Instagram account to write to Costello again.
“I know I'm not supposed to message you but thank you for everything you do for the travel industry,” he said, followed by: “No one will ever come close to you.”
Costello then blocked all of Jones’ social media accounts.
After Jones' sentencing, the presenter later took to Instagram to thank others for their 'kind words', saying: "The last 16 months have been a scary ordeal."
She continued: "For the past 16 months I have been stalked by a man I have never met but who thought he knew me through a TV screen.
"Today, he was sentenced and given a 5 year restraining order.
"I feel an intense sense of relief but the experience has caused me to experience huge paranoia, anxiety and stress."
Costello added that stalking ‘continues to be a vastly underreported crime’, despite one in five women in the UK experiencing it.
“I count myself lucky that my case has been dealt with relatively quickly and that I never came to any physical harm,” she said.
“But the reality is that many victims of stalking are victims for several years, and if stalkers are not stopped, their obsession can become sinister, perhaps even fatal.
“It’s important we talk about stalking, and it’s important that it’s stopped as early as possible.”
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/EllieCostelloTV ITV