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Stuart Hall: A paedophile abuser but not a rapist

Stuart Hall was cleared of 15 rapes and four indecent assaults. Picture: PA

Stuart Hall was cleared of 15 rapes and four indecent assaults. Picture: PA

  • by KIM PILLING
 

Hall, 84, was convicted of one indecent assault but cleared of 15 rapes and four other indecent assaults by a jury of eight women and four men.

At the start of the trial, he had pleaded guilty to one other count of indecent assault.

The former BBC broadcaster did not react to the verdict but mouthed “thank you” to the jury at Preston Crown Court at the end of the two-week trial as he was led away to the cells to continue serving his sentence for earlier offences.

Hall will be sentenced for the one charge he was convicted of next Friday, before trial judge Mr Justice Turner.

The former It’s a Knockout presenter and BBC Radio 5 Live football match reporter was not due to be released until September. He was taken from custody in Leyland, Lancashire, last ­October and questioned about allegations from the two alleged victims who came forward after his conviction last year.

He was then charged with ­numerous counts of rape and indecent assault, which he denied. Both girls and their families were known to the defendant.

Hall, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, chose not to give evidence as his defence team questioned whether the case was “a persecution” rather than a prosecution.

The broadcaster said the sex with the girls in their mid-teens, when he was in his mid-40s, was consensual.

Many of the encounters were at BBC television studios in Manchester where Hall presented the corporation’s regional news programme.

Hall’s barrister Crispin Aylett QC questioned why both girls would continually return to the BBC studios and suggested it was because they enjoyed the “charming” and “charismatic” company of the “larger-than-life” defendant.

He said the sexual activity was wrong but Hall was not a rapist.

Last year, Preston Crown Court heard that Hall exploited his connections with the BBC to sexually exploit other girls.

A detailed investigation into Hall’s conduct at the BBC is being carried out by retired High Court judge Dame Linda Dobbs.

Hall was initially given a 15-month prison term last year, after admitting 14 counts of indecent assault against 13 girls aged nine to 17, but the Court of Appeal ruled the sentence was “inadequate” and it was doubled a month later.

The appeal judges were told that Hall was “not in particularly robust health” and could die in prison.

The married father-of-two was stripped of his OBE for broadcasting and charity in the wake of his convictions.

He was a familiar face and voice in British broadcasting for half a century, and his eccentric and erudite football match summaries made him a cult figure on BBC Radio 5 Live. He also wrote a weekly sport column for the Radio Times until his arrest.

Last summer, Preston Crown Court heard that Hall directly exploited his role as a popular BBC presenter with a “genial personality” to target four of his ­victims, while he assaulted another four on the pretence of giving elocution lessons to them at his home.

When arrested, the broadcaster told police the complainants were all lying as part of “a vendetta going on against people in the public eye”.

He later told the press that the claims against him, dating back to 1967, were “cruel, pernicious and spurious’’ before he finally admitted his guilt.

In the latest trial, defence barrister Mr Aylett had told the jury: “What is the position where a middle-aged man has sexual ­intercourse with a teenager?

“Let me say from the outset that none of this should have happened.

“The girls were teenagers. The defendant was in his 40s and he had no-one to blame but ­himself.”

Yesterday, a spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “We take all allegations of rape and sexual assault very seriously and victims should know that we will prosecute such cases where it is right to do so.”

 

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