Hall’s shame as he admits sex abuse

Stuart Hall leaving Preston Crown Court yesterday.

Stuart Hall leaving Preston Crown Court yesterday.

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Veteran BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall was branded a child abuse “predator” after he admitted indecently assaulting 13 girls – including one in Blackpool almost four decades ago.

Hall, 83, who had previously issued an impassioned denial, entered the guilty pleas last month at Preston Crown Court but they could only be disclosed yesterday after reporting restrictions were lifted.

Outside court, the former It’s a Knockout presenter appeared a broken man, having heard his lawyer Crispin Aylett QC tell the court “he is only too aware his disgrace is complete”. It was a stark contrast with a previous appearance, when he insisted on the court steps that the allegations were “pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious”. One of the offences included fondling the breast of one girl, then aged 16 or 17, between September 1, 1974 and December 31, 1974 in Blackpool, an earlier hearing heard.

Nazir Afzal, chief crown prosecutor for the North West, 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. He can only be described as an opportunistic predator.”

Police confirmed that publicity surrounding his initial arrest led to more victims coming forward, a fact likely to fuel the current debate over calls for defendants not to be named in such circumstances.

Recorder of Preston Judge Anthony Russell QC granted bail until his sentencing on June 17.

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