'An opportunistic predator': Stuart Hall faces prison as he admits 14 sex assaults against 13 girls as young as nine

BBC veteran's lawyer says he knows his 'disgrace is complete'

The former It’s a Knockout presenter Stuart Hall is facing prison after be admitted a catalogue of sex abuse allegations dating back nearly 50 years.

The veteran broadcaster was described by prosecutors as an “opportunistic predator” whose 13 victims included a nine-year-old girl who he sexually assaulted in her bedroom whilst attending a dinner party at her parents’ house.

Another victim, then aged 17, described how she was pushed up against a wall and attacked after auditioning as a cheerleader during filming of the long-running TV competition.

The investigation by Lancashire Police began after a woman contacted Independent columnist Yasmin Alabhai-Brown in the wake of the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal. The woman described how she was invited to the BBC studios in Manchester after meeting Hall at a school prize giving and later abused.

Ten victims subsequently came forward following the initial publicity surrounding the case. Today Hall, aged 83, admitted 14 counts of sexual assault which ranged from kissing to the digital penetration of his 13 predominantly teenage victims.

A further charge of rape and three other counts of sexual assault were allowed to lay on file with the agreement of the complainants. The BBC, where Hall was still working as a freelance match summariser on Radio 5 Live until his arrest last year, described his crimes as “disgraceful” and said he would no longer appear on air for the corporation.

Hall’s barrister Crispin Aylett QC told a brief hearing at Preston Crown Court that his client was “only too aware that his disgrace is complete.” Hall will be sentenced in June after being released on bail and faces a maximum prison sentence of up to 10 years. He was told he must not have unsupervised access to children and will be required to sign the Sex Offenders Register.

Prosecutors praised the women – none of whom knew each other - for coming forward.

Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor in the North West, said victims of abuse should not be denied justice by the passage of time. He said all had provided “strikingly similar” accounts of their ordeal.

“Whether in private or public, 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,” said Mr Afzal.

Detective chief inspector Neil Esseen, of Lancashire Police’s major investigation team, said the guilty pleas had allowed the victims to be spared the ordeal of giving evidence at trial.

“The fact that these convictions have come a long time after they were committed shows that we will always take any allegations of sexual abuse extremely seriously and will investigate them thoroughly no matter how long ago they happened,” he said.

A statement issued through his solicitors said: “Mr Hall deeply and sincerely regrets his actions. He wishes to issue an unreserved apology to the individuals concerned. He now accepts his behaviour and actions were completely wrong and he is very remorseful.”

His barrister said Hall was of otherwise “exemplary character” and that his client had ”desisted“ in each instance of abuse when met with the ”merest suggestion of discouragement“.

But child protection campaigners welcomed the outcome of the hearing.

Jon Brown, head of the NSPCC's sexual abuse programme, said: ”These guilty pleas will hopefully encourage more victims of sexual abuse to come forward so they can finally get the justice they deserve. Even where allegations relate to the distant past they should be thoroughly investigated.”

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people
News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes