Costello, 29, was stalked by former Airline star Leo Jones, who had appeared on her GB News show as a guest.
Jones found fame on the ITV reality show before becoming a ‘travel expert’, and was given a five-year restraining order on Thursday.
The 41-year-old was also given a suspended jail sentence at St Albans Magistrates’ Court after leaving Costello in ‘constant stress’ for over a year.
Speaking to The Daily Mail, Costello revealed that she had never met Jones in real life, and had only interviewed him over Zoom.
He then started showing up at places she was filming, including into her studio at 5am during one occasion, but she was not at work that particular day.
‘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,’ she told the publication.
Airline followed the lives of EasyJet workers, running for eight years until 2006.
After his stint on the reality show, Jones presented himself as a ‘travel expert’, and commented on the travel industry under Covid-19 restrictions, and was interviewed by Costello on GB News in August 2021.
The pair exchanged messages after the interview thanking one another, but nothing further.
Jones was interviewed by Costello again in October, and he later suggested they should present a travel show together, and said: ‘I love seeing you in the morning X’
Costello didn’t respond, but Jones persisted with messages including: ‘You take my breath away,’ ‘You motivate me beyond words’, ‘I love seeing you’, and ‘You are my sunshine I love you’.
Jones then asked: ‘How long do I have to wait to see you it is driving me insane,’ Costello replied with: ‘Please stop messaging me it is beyond inappropriate.’
The court heard that the messages then stopped for only three months, before Jones used a separate Instagram account to message Costello saying: ‘I know I’m not supposed to message you but thank you for everything you do for the travel industry,’ followed by ‘No one will ever come close to you’.
Costello then blocked all his social media accounts so he could not contact her.
In June this year, Jones arrived at the GB News studio in London and asked whether Costello was available.
He later sent her flowers with a ‘Something to say a good morning from Leo X’ message.
Costello also received an email from Jones via her website, in which he wrote: ‘Ellie I don’t want to be like a stalker I have feelings for you you have been pivotal on my journey’.
Yesterday, the court heard how one incident on the day of the Queen’s funeral left her ‘shaken’.
During broadcasting from the Long Walk at Windsor on the day of the Queen’s funeral, Costello saw Jones ‘with his hand in pockets, laughing and walks towards her’.
At the time, she called the police but suffered a panic attack, and he quickly disappeared by the time the police calmed her down.
Describing that incident at court, Costello said: ‘I’ve been left shaken in the aftermath of Leo Jones getting so close to me.
‘I had a panic attack, I couldn’t breathe or speak, when I realised he had got so close to me I really freaked out. He must have followed me after watching my broadcast that morning.
‘It has made me nervous about getting out of cars and going to places by myself. In my job it is impossible not to say where I am, I have a security officer to make me feel safe at work.
‘The security officer has taught me ways to help keep myself safe, to wear less bright colours, to tie my hair up, how to position myself in relation to a road, to face outwards to see threats coming.
‘I have had to change how I behave at work and everyday life.
‘I would not wish this upon anyone. I just want to feel safe and safe at work.
‘The last 16 months have been ones of constant worry, constant stress and constant strain on my life.
‘The thought of seeing his face makes me cry. I am frustrated at myself for letting it go on for so long.’
Jones pleaded guilty to causing the presenter serious alarm, distress and mental anguish and was given a 26-week custodial sentence, a suspended sentence for two years, and a five-year restraining order.
Costello later posted a statement on Instagram, in which she wrote: ‘For the past 16 months I have been stalked by a man I have never met but thought he knew me from through a TV screen.’
Following the outcome, she added: ‘I feel an intense sense of relief but the experience has caused me to experience huge paranoia, anxiety and distress.’
She added: ‘I count myself lucky that my case has been dealt with relatively quickly and that I never came to any physical harm. 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.’
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