BBC Points West presenter Alex Lovell has opened up about the trauma of being stalked for several years as part of a National Stalking Awareness Week initiative.

The abuse started in 2013, when Alex began receiving innocent looking greetings cards featuring fluffy animals from Gordon Hawthorn filled with disgusting "crude and graphic" fantasies.

But by 2016 the tone of the cards changed and Hawthorn started threatening the TV personality.

She told the BBC: "He said it was his New Year's resolution to have sex with me and if I didn't comply, he would rape me.

"I'll never forget reading those words - made all the more frightening I think by the fact that this person had been persistent and dogged in his attention for four years already."

Alex, who was having panic attacks, confided in her boss, who informed the police.

She added: "They took it very seriously. That was enormously reassuring.

"The police guided me in ways to keep myself safe, by changing my driving routes, not leaving work without a colleague, even for coffee, and CCTV security at home."

Alex told the BBC: "The sender said he was close enough to smell my hair, described what he would do to me and how he'd raped many times before.

"He signed them, 'From your stalker and soon to be your rapist'.

"I had to change so many things in my life and was looking over my shoulder constantly. I was jumpy - I had heightened awareness of everything around me."

In the end Hawthorn was caught following a police appeal after a member of the public told officers she had received a similar card to the ones Alex had received. Hawthorn, 69, whose DNA was found on the cards, was jailed for two years and six months earlier this year.

Alex said: "In my case it was clear when to call the police, but in many instances it's not that easy for the victim to know when to ask for help, which is why I want to speak out.

"This is not the first time I have had attention that I found frightening and intimidating, but it took an extreme event to make me call the police and ask for help."

Alex is offering the following advice to anyone being stalked - make a note of everything, including your feelings; tell someone close to you and inform the police if possible; and contact an organisation such as the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.