Stuart Hall 'raped teenage girls in BBC dressing room'

The 84-year-old former BBC broadcaster denies 20 charges of rape

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Stuart Hall groomed two girls and raped them in his BBC dressing room, a court has heard.

Mr Hall, then 47, invited one of the girls to the former BBC studios in Manchester after she "expressed an interest in becoming a makeup artist in films and TV", prosecutors said.

The 84-year-old ex-broadcaster denies 20 charges of rape and indecent assault involving two victims in the 1970s.

His defence told the jury they needed to decide if Mr Hall was "a rapist".

On Tuesday at Preston Crown Court he admitted one count of indecent assault.

Last year, Mr Hall, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, was jailed for 15 months for 14 offences of indecent assault against 13 girls. His sentence was later extended to 30 months, at the Court of Appeal.

'Impressionable teenagers'

Peter Wright QC, opening the case for the prosecution in the latest trial, said the two girls' families knew Mr Hall and he "abused their trust".

"These were young, impressionable teenagers being groomed by a sexual predator into satisfying his sexual requirements," he said.

"He took advantage of the influence he had over them and their continued silence.

Artist impression Stuart Hall wore headphones to hear proceedings at Preston Crown Court

"But now all these years later their silence has been broken and they are prepared to reveal publicly what happened to them at the hands of this man all those years ago."

The jury was told he sexually abused "girl A" between 1 January 1976 and 30 September 1978.

The offending allegedly started when she was aged about 14 and went on until she was 16.

Mr Wright said Mr Hall took her to his dressing room where he "plied her with alcohol" and raped her.

Afterwards, Mr Hall gave her a lift home and the girl made no complaint to anyone and blamed herself for getting drunk, the court heard.

'Sexual indignity'

Mr Wright said: "She was, after all, a 14-year-old girl who had been invited to the studios of a TV celebrity, been reduced into a state of intoxication and then abused."

The court heard the girl went to the studios each week for 12 months.

"It happened so frequently that the girl lost count of the number of times. She estimates he had intercourse with her on at least 30 occasions", Mr Wright added.

Mr Wright said it was the prosecution's case he groomed her "into submitting to sexual intercourse and further sexual indignity with him".

The jury was told she did not reveal what had happened until last year.

Mr Wright said: "She reports that, in fact, her husband tried to blackmail her into giving him money, failing which he would inform her family of the sexual abuse that she had suffered. His conduct, not surprisingly, led to their estrangement."

The court heard about the second alleged victim, "girl B", who said she was raped and indecently assaulted by Stuart Hall between ages of 12 and 15.

'His toy'

The jury was told it coincided with his abuse of "girl A".

Prosecutors said the first attack happened while the girl was cleaning stables and Mr Hall arrived unannounced.

Mr Wright said: "He approached her in the stables, partially removed her clothing and raped her against a wall."

The court heard that as the girl grew up, she too showed an interest in a TV career and would go to the BBC studios, where Hall would rape her in his dressing room.

Mr Wright continued: "His sole concern was self-gratification.

"She was, we say, his toy, to be used and abused as he saw fit."

She kept her silence until July last year, when she spoke to police.

Mr Hall's barrister, Crispin Aylett, asked the jury to focus on 14 of the 15 rapes, in which the girls were aged between 14 and 16.

He said: "You have to consider the question of whether or not in each instance the complainant has consented to, or might have consented to, sexual intercourse with Stuart Hall. And even if they did not, whether the defendant might reasonably have thought they were consenting."

He added: "The defendant says in his pleas of not guilty that whatever his shortcomings, whatever he has done - and none of this should have happened - he says 'I'm not a rapist', and that in due course is the issue you will have to decide."

The trial is expected to last seven days.

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