Countdown champion who bottled Asda worker jailed

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AN OBSESSED former Countdown champion who travelled 400 miles to attack a teenager who gave his book a bad review was today jailed for 30 months.

Richard Brittain, 28, used Facebook to track victim Paige Rolland, 18, to the Asda store in Glenrothes where she worked and smashed a full wine bottle over her head - knocking her unconscious.

Only a month earlier Brittain - crowned a Countdown champion in 2006 - 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 the accused “the only disposal in this case is a custodial one”.

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 October 3, 2014 at Asda, Fullerton Road, Glenrothes.

• READ MORE: Asda worker bottled by Countdown champion in store

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

In October last year, Brittain went to the Asda store Miss Rolland worked in after she began her shift.

Mr Findlay said: “He went to the alcohol aisle and picked up a bottle of wine, he then went to the aisle where the complainer was working.

“He approached her from behind, she was kneeling down collecting cereal from the bottom shelf of the aisle.

“While doing so, the accused approached without warning, any provocation or words and he struck the complainer on the back of the head with the bottle.

“One blow. It made contact and the wound bled immediately and she had a moment of unconsciousness.”

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

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 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 so often that they almost saw one another daily.

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

Procurator fiscal depute Harry Findlay said: “The accused began to show his affection and interest in the complainer. They were in contact though the Facebook system, but the complainer did not wish to have a relationship with the accused.

“There came a time when the complainer blocked the accused 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.

• READ MORE: Countdown’s Rachel Riley red-faced by rude word

In June last year she saw Brittain on Buchanan Street around 7.10pm as she walked towards Argyle Street.

Mr Findlay said: “He waved towards her and motioned to her as if asking her to stop.

“He also appeared to be picking up his belongings with a view to going towards her.

“The complainer continued to walk away down Buchanan Street turning right on Argyle Street, while doing so she contacted the police.”

Miss Durant went to the customer desk at Central Station and was taken home by police with Brittain out of sight.

But, two days later as she left her work in the south side of Glasgow on Kilmarnock Road, she saw Brittain again.

Mr Findlay told the court: “She screamed in the hope of drawing attention of others, this time the accused spoke to her.”

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 on 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.

The court heard Brittain knew Miss Durant was in Glasgow because of her Twitter and Instagram accounts.

As he was lead away to begin his sentenced he was showed no emotion.