Stuart Hall jailed for 15 months for sex assaults

Stuart Hall admitted 14 offences that occurred between 1967 and 1985

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BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall has been sentenced to 15 months in jail for sexually abusing girls.

Hall, 83, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, admitted 14 offences that occurred between 1967 and 1985.

One of the girls was nine years old when Hall assaulted her, Preston Crown Court heard.

Solicitors representing some of the victims said proceedings are under way to sue Hall and the BBC for damages.

Judge Anthony Russell QC said Hall had a "darker side" and took advantage of his "status as a well-liked celebrity".

'Brazen attitude'

The BBC said it was "appalled" that some of his crimes took place in connection with his work at the corporation.

The ex-BBC Radio 5 live summariser and It's A Knockout host initially insisted the allegations were "pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious".

Alan Collins: "Civil claims are already under way in respect of the abuse they suffered"

His barrister Crispin Aylett, in mitigation, told the court the former broadcaster had "all of 13" victims compared to Jimmy Savile's 1,300.

Sentencing Hall, Judge Russell said: "It is clear from the victim statements that I have seen that your brazen attitude when first charged and the public protests of your innocence have added to the distress of some if not all of your victims."

Judge Russell said Hall had "given pleasure to millions of people" and was known for his "genial personality, charm, bonhomie and wit".

But the judge added: "There is a darker side to you, one hidden from public view until now, and a side which you were able to conceal taking advantage of your status as a well-liked celebrity."

Start Quote

In the dock today is a frightened and bewildered 83-year-old man answering for the touching - no more, no less - of all of 13... victims over a quarter of a century ago”

End Quote Crispin Aylett Hall's barrister

The judge said for most of Hall's offences the maximum sentence at the time they were committed was two years, but the remainder carried a potential term of five years.

He added: "The maximum sentence for this type of offence has been significantly increased, since these offences were committed, to 10 years."

The Attorney General's Office said it had already had a "small number" of requests to review the sentence to determine if it was "unduly lenient".

Labour MP Emily Thornberry, the shadow attorney general, said the sentence should be extended due to the seriousness of the offences, the age of victims and the fact that he "compounded the victims' distress" by publicly denying the allegations at first.

A decision on whether to refer the case to the Court of Appeal on such grounds must be made within 28 days.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the case shows "time is no barrier to justice".

Prosecuting barrister Peter Wright QC said Hall's first victim was 16 at the time of the assault, which happened in late 1967 or early 1968.

She met Hall when he presented her with an award at a school prize-giving and he invited the girl to record some songs at the BBC studios in Piccadilly, Manchester.

'Furious father'

The court was told Hall bought her a drink in a pub before sexually assaulting her in his car.

She burst into tears, telling her parents what had happened after Hall took her home.

Her angry father went to find Hall but he was nowhere to be seen. The family decided not to report the matter.

Preston Crown Court previously heard that in the 1980s Hall molested a nine-year-old girl by putting his hand up her clothing.

CPS Prosecutor Nazir Afzal: 'He abused his position as an adult and as a well known personality'

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.

Mr Aylett said his client had been arrested "as a consequence" of the investigations into Jimmy Savile, "who used young girls on a scale that is simply staggering".

He referred to the 1,300 complainants in the Savile case and said: "Instead, in the dock today is a frightened and bewildered 83-year-old man answering for the touching - no more, no less - of all of 13, not 1,300, victims over a quarter of a century ago."

In a statement, the corporation said: "The BBC is appalled that some of Stuart Hall's crimes took place in connection with his work at the BBC and offers an unreserved apology to the people he abused.

"Dame Linda Dobbs is leading a detailed investigation into Hall's conduct at the BBC and her conclusions will be published as part of the Dame Janet Smith Review later this year."

One count of rape will lie on the court file.

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