Man banned from Cornwall for 10 years after stalking Fern Britton

James Haviland pleaded guilty to stalking the Celebrity Big Brother star.

James Haviland, 63, arrives at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court
James Haviland, 63, arrives at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court (Andrew Matthews/PA)

An “obsessive” fan has been banned from entering the county of Cornwall for 10 years for a “prolonged” and “well-researched campaign of stalking” against TV presenter Fern Britton by sending her flowers and staying in her holiday cottage.

James Haviland, of Great Oaks Chase, Chineham, Basingstoke, Hampshire, pleaded guilty to stalking the Celebrity Big Brother star without causing fear, alarm or distress, between November 20 2021, and September 16 2023, in the Wadebridge area of north Cornwall.

Kerry Richardson, prosecuting, told Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court that, in November 2021, Haviland sent a bunch of red roses named Love Letter to Ms Britton with a card saying: “I think you are amazing” with a further note inside saying: “You are beautiful, keep safe, keep smiling.

“PS I am sure you get this thing all the time.”

The 63-year-old then made an order for a bunch of Get Well Soon flowers costing £57 in June 2022 but he did not complete the order.

Ms Richardson said that in June 2023 he then sent flowers and a card which said “Well Done on Your Running” followed a month later with flowers and a birthday card which read: “Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, hope you have a great day” and was signed “Jim” with a kiss.

The prosecutor said that Ms Britton had made inquiries of the florist that had sent the flowers and she was given the name of the defendant.

Television presenter Fern Britton
Television presenter Fern Britton (Ian West/PA)

She added: “In September of last year, her holiday cottage is let to a single male.

“Ms Britton popped to the holiday cottage to check the occupant is OK.

“On speaking to the occupant, who is Mr Haviland, she recognises his face, he mentioned to her about rebooking, about next time bringing his cycle and taking nice pictures.

“When she returns to her home address and checks on the booking and sees the booking is the name of Jim Haviland that matches the card and flowers.

“As a result she reports the matter to the police.”

Ms Richardson described how the police and Ms Britton go to the holiday cottage and find that Mr Haviland had been sleeping in the loft room rather than the master bedroom and had placed a stool under an opened Velux window which overlooked the TV star’s home which she said was a “concern”.

She added: “Mr Haviland has stayed in the vicinity and in the same village in which Ms Britton resides on three separate occasions and he has stayed in north Cornwall on numerous occasions.”

She continued that police found a screenshot of Ms Britton on his phone and a photograph of her with another person but with that person cropped out of the image.

In her victim impact statement read to the court, Ms Britton, who did not attend the hearing, said: “It’s worrying me, I would like him stopped before he does more.

“There is a point when I know this is inappropriate and I am asking myself what is his end game here?

“Last night, for example, I didn’t sleep well, I have been worrying about it and I am considering my personal safety.

“It isn’t nice, I question my online presence, I moved to Cornwall to get away from this level of recognition and intrusion.

“This has brought back memories of being constantly chased by journalists, photographers and strange people.

“I do not want to be hyper-vigilant again. I am not a party person who goes out to showbiz events.

“I have integrated myself in the area, I am part of village life and I do not want this to change.

“I am entitled to live a life that is pleasant, enjoyable and free of worry.”

Sentencing Haviland, District Judge Stephen Apted said that Haviland had caused the former This Morning presenter “distress and anxiety” by his “prolonged campaign” of stalking.

As well as the restraining order, the defendant was handed a 12-month community order which requires him to complete 12 rehabilitation sessions and 150 hours of unpaid work and he was told to pay a £114 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

Mr Apted said: “It was a prolonged campaign.

“That campaign took the form of sending unwanted flowers and cards to Ms Britton’s home address having found out where she lived, staying in the same village, making bookings for and staying in her holiday cottage.

“There is the implication, and I accept it’s no more than an implication, that you have been following her.

“This was a pre-planned and well-researched campaign of stalking.

“I reject your assertion this was a series of coincidences, you have become obsessed with your victim and it has been clear from her victim statement your actions have caused her distress and anxiety.”

James Haviland
James Haviland (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The restraining order requires Haviland not to contact Ms Britton directly or indirectly, not to enter the county of Cornwall and not to take any photographs of her.

Ed Stott, defending, said that Haviland had first seen Ms Britton in November 2021 while taking photographs in north Cornwall for his portfolio which he had been working on since he retired in 2017 to become accredited with the Royal Photographic Society.

He said: “That is how his first contact comes about and shortly after that he has a celebrity crush, he actioned upon that and he described it in an escapist kind of way and sends some flowers shortly afterwards.”

Mr Stott added that Haviland, a married father, had placed a stool by the Velux window because he wanted to open it and denied that he had been following Ms Britton.

He continued: “He is embarrassed by his behaviour and he is devastated with the effect it has had on his family.”