UK host was an “opportunistic predator”

Former It's a Knockout host for the BBC, has admitted to 14 charges of indecently assaulting girls between 1967 & 1985.

2013-05-03_1059Veteran UK broadcaster Stuart Hall, who hosted It’s a Knockout for the BBC, has admitted to 14 charges of indecently assaulting girls, including one aged nine.

The 83-year-old pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to the offences, involving 13 victims, which occurred between 1967 and 1985.

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. He was was appointed an OBE in the 2012 New Year Honours.

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.”

Hall admitted the offences last month but they could not be revealed due to reporting restrictions.

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.”

On Thursday one of Hall’s victims spoke of her trauma at being assaulted by him as a 17-year-old. The woman, who had just been selected as a cheerleader for an edition of It’s a Knockout, turned when she heard a voice behind her.

“It was him,” she told ITV News, “and he started talking to me. He grabbed hold of me and he started kissing me and then he tried to force himself on me. I struggled, I tried to push him away, and it was only the fact that there was someone walking along the corridor and the floors creaked that he stopped and I managed to get away.”

She added: “I will never, ever forget that voice … over the years every time I’ve heard his voice on the television, on the radio, I just think ‘How can you do it, how can you be like that in full view of everyone after everything you’ve done?'”

The revelations follow a day after the charging of Coronation Street veteran Bill Roache was charged on two counts of rape. He denies the allegations.

Police have stressed that the charges against Stuart Hall are not part of the investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of children against the late BBC star Jimmy Savile.

Hall was bailed and is due to be sentenced on 17 June.

Source: BBC, Guardian, ABC

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