Manchester

Stuart Hall: Victim and colleagues recall presenter's sexual behaviour

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Media captionFormer BBC producer Deborah Robinson said celebrities like Stuart Hall had a "a lot of power"

The inquiry into abuse carried out by Stuart Hall heard from dozens of witnesses. Here is some of the evidence given by former colleagues who worked with the disgraced presenter, and testimony from a victim.


Victim: 'I was groomed with alcohol'

Image caption Hall was the frontman of BBC Look North in Manchester for 25 years

A victim of Stuart Hall's abuse, who cannot be identified, told the BBC she was introduced as his "niece or goddaughter" and was brought into BBC buildings and to football matches.

She said she was "plied with alcohol - this was standard. There was always champagne".

She said she was "sometimes locked in" the BBC car park. She said she felt: "Numb, numb, numb."

"It's a very different scenario walking through the BBC today from then. There's security. You're signed in, you're signed out. In those days, I was there and nobody knew I was there."

She said it "never occurred to me that I should tell someone. I don't want my parents to feel ashamed of me, to wonder about me. That's the way grooming works".

She described being "quite withdrawn and didn't want to get into conversation with anyone".


'I saw him with young girls in his dressing room'

Deborah Robinson, who worked with Hall as a producer at the BBC in Manchester, said she saw him in his dressing room on Friday afternoons with young teenage girls "on more than one occasion".

She said Hall was a "celebrity and I was a young journalist. [Celebrities] had a lot of power - he was well known," she added.

"For me to say anything at work about, 'what you are doing here on BBC premises', it wasn't done."

In a BBC interview, she said: "The BBC was a very different organisation and society was different because we didn't understand child abuse - the thought of a celebrity doing something unspeakable with two young girls on public premises; I didn't think it was possible.

"It was only afterwards when all these accounts came out, and you realised that, yes, what I saw was wrong, then.

"You just didn't think that child abuse could occur in a public office. How could you?"


'I knew they were not his nieces'

Image caption Hall worked at the BBC studios in Oxford Road

Former studio worker Gerry Clarke recalled a specific occasion when he saw Hall bringing two girls, aged between 14 and 16, to his dressing room during rehearsals for a Children in Need programme.

Mr Clarke's recollection accords with the evidence of a woman who remembered going to see Hall as a child with her friend.

He said he had seen girls of this age range on the studio monitor at Oxford Road, "possibly between five and 10 times". He knew they were not Hall's nieces, but it did not bother him because he just never "thought that way".

Mr Clarke recalled an incident when he went to collect Hall from his dressing room. Hall had his trousers down and was holding a vibrating massager used for sports injuries in his hand.

One of the girls invited by Hall to the BBC studios for elocution lessons told the investigation that Hall referred to her and her friend as "nieces".


'He took young, pretty guests to his dressing room'

Image caption Hall was jailed in 2013 after pleading guilty to a number of assaults

A journalist working in the Manchester television newsroom in the late 1980s, known as AH6, described a cookery slot on the regional TV news programme where Hall would be joined by guests.

"If they were young and pretty, everyone would know that they would not see Hall around before the programme as he would lock himself in with them in his dressing room/ green room."

She said: "It was known that [he] liked to entertain guests in his dressing room and you would know not to go in there... it was a bit 'nod, nod, wink, wink'."


'Hall could do what he liked'

Former BBC colleague Linda McDougall, who worked at BBC Manchester in the late 1960s and 70s, said Hall was a "nuisance to women".

"If you were female, at the slightest opportunity, he put his arms around you and forced his body against yours."

Ms McDougall said he would show up at lunchtime and, within seconds, would be touching her under the guise of saying 'good morning'."

When she complained, other women in the newsroom who were typists and generally much older told her: "That's the way things are", and she ought not to take it seriously.

When she complained to her editor, his reaction was "to laugh it off".

She described Hall as "King of the BBC in Manchester and he could do what he liked; I'm sure he believed he could as well."


'He had very wandering hands'

A witness called CH22, who worked in the newsroom in the early to mid-1980s, described how Hall would push himself at her and "grab a [breast]".

She did not report it. She thought if she had reported the incident, people might have said: "That's Stuart Hall for you." She said she would not tolerate such behaviour now.

Another witness, AH4, said: "Absolutely none of us ladies would walk up the narrow stairs in front of him, whether wearing a skirt or trousers. You could say 'he had very wandering hands'."


Hall was 'untouchable'

Image caption Stuart Hall hosted It's A Knockout for more than a decade

Former reporter Michael Delahaye, who worked with Hall in Manchester between 1972 and 1975, said: "Stuart Hall WAS Look North.

"Stuart knew this, often alluded to it and I believe traded upon it. More to the point, BBC management knew it."

Mr Delahaye said this gave Hall "considerable licence" and made management "reluctant to challenge him for fear of losing him".

"In short, Stuart's celebrity status (greatly enhanced as it was by It's a Knockout) rendered him relatively untouchable."


Source: BBC interview and Dame Linda Dobbs report