Broadcaster Stuart Hall admits indecent assaults
- 2 May 2013
- From the section England
BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall has admitted 14 charges of indecently assaulting girls, one aged nine.
The 83-year-old of Wilmslow, Cheshire, pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to the offences, involving 13 victims, which occurred between 1967 and 1985.
The ex-host of the BBC game show It's a Knockout was bailed and is due to be sentenced on 17 June.
His lawyer said he apologised to his victims and was "all too aware that his disgrace is complete".
Three charges of indecent assault and one of rape will lie on the court file.
Hall was working as a football reporter on BBC Radio 5 Live and wrote a weekly sport column for the Radio Times magazine until his arrest.
A BBC spokesperson said: "The BBC is appalled by the disgraceful actions of Stuart Hall and we would like to express our sympathy to his victims. We will continue to work with the police to assist them in this and any other inquiries they are making."
Leaving court Hall, who previously had described the allegations as "pernicious and spurious", was pressed by reporters for an apology but said: "I've got a very heavy cold. I have no comment to make at all."
Hall admitted the offences last month but they could not be revealed due to reporting restrictions.
The court heard one of his victims, aged 17, was assaulted on the same day It's A Knockout was recorded in Ely, Cambridgeshire in 1973.
Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West, described Hall as an "opportunistic predator".
"We prosecuted Stuart Hall because the evidence of the victims clearly established a pattern of behaviour that was unlawful and for which no innocent explanation could be offered," he said.
"His victims did not know each other and almost two decades separated the first and last assaults but almost all of the victims, including one who was only nine at the time of the assault, provided strikingly similar accounts.
"Whether in public or private, Hall would first approach under friendly pretences and then bide his time until the victim was isolated.
"I would like to thank the victims for having had the bravery to come forward. This case clearly shows that the victims of abuse will not be denied justice by the passage of time and abusers will be held to account."
Mr Afzal said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) would not be proceeding with the rape charge as the woman who made the allegation no longer wished to give evidence in light of the guilty pleas.
'Never forget voice'
Det Ch Insp Neil Esseen, of Lancashire Constabulary's major investigation team, paid tribute to Hall's victims for their bravery.
"The admissions of Mr Hall will at least spare his victims the ordeal of having to recount their abuse at a trial," he said.
"They have lived with what happened for a long period of time and it cannot have been easy for them to come forward, especially as when they did so, they did not know there were others who had also suffered abuse."
The court heard that in the 1980s, Hall molested a nine-year-old girl by putting his hand up her clothing.
He also kissed a 13-year-old girl on the lips after saying to her: "People need to show thanks in other ways."
On another occasion in the 1970s he fondled the breast of a girl aged 16 or 17, the court was told.
In an interview with ITV News, one of Hall's victims said he had "tried to force himself on me... and it was only the fact there was someone walking along the corridor and the floor creaked that he stopped and I managed to get away.
"I will never ever forget that voice," she said.
Political writer Linda McDougall was a television producer in Manchester in the late 1960s and 70s and worked with Hall.
She said: "He had what used to be the old medical room, Stuart occupied this during the afternoons while we were rehearsing for Look North and he had lady friends who came and went happily on to the BBC premises and kept him occupied during the afternoon.
"Frankly, he was a complete nuisance, he was one of those people who had his hands all over you and all over any female that came in any moment he [could]."
In response to allegations Hall used BBC premises, a corporation spokesperson said: "We are aware of a number of allegations that have been made in relation to Stuart Hall and where appropriate these are being passed on to the police or the Dame Janet Smith Review that is looking at the culture of the BBC during the 70s and 80s."
Hall was initially arrested in December and made a statement labelling the claims "pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious".
He has been a familiar face and voice in British broadcasting for half a century, and was appointed OBE in the 2012 New Year Honours.