One of Stuart Hall's victims speaks out: 'Every time I've heard his voice on the radio since I think "how can you do it?"'

Jonathan Brown on Stuart Hall’s journey from a national treasure to a national disgrace

Three years ago, when Stuart Hall turned 80, the nation wanted to celebrate the landmark with him.

The BBC, for whom he had provided decades of loyal service, staged a two hour Radio 5 Live special showcasing his unique esoteric style whilst his favourite football club, Manchester City, laid on a gala evening attended by the cream of Premiership football past and present.

Even the Queen seemed to want to get in on the act – awarding him an OBE last year for services to charity and broadcasting. Hall, whose riotous laughter had reverberated across the living rooms of a generation of TV viewers, was a national treasure.

It was a very different story today. As he stepped out of Preston Crown Court, having been warned by a judge that despite his advancing years he faced a possible jail sentence, the diminutive, perma-tanned grandfather was a man whose reputation had been completely and utterly destroyed.

Confronted in the sunshine by a barrage of cameras and angry demands from journalists that he should apologise to the children he had groomed and abused in a predatory history spanning 18 years – much of it when he was at the height of his celebrity presenting the flagship BBC series It’s a Knockout – he simply refused to address the issue.

Despite having earlier dismissed the charges against him as “pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious”, Hall had in fact pleaded guilty to 14 offences at a previous hearing. His apology was to come later, issued via Hall’s Manchester solicitors.

But this was too late for his victims who waited for up to nearly half a century, to come forward to tell the truth about a man whose outward respectability meant that his predatory behaviour was ignored, in some cases by their own parents.

Although not linked to the Operation Yewtree inquiry into the activities of the other shamed northern broadcasting legend Jimmy Savile, it was the public outcry over the Jim’ll Fix It star that was to persuade victims to come forward to Lancashire police.

And by the time Hall was arrested at his luxury home in the Cheshire town of Wilmslow’s millionaires’ row last December, three women had broken their long silences.

One of them was aged only nine when in 1983 she was attacked whilst Hall was enjoying a dinner party at her parents’ house.

On that occasion, the broadcaster crept into the child’s room under the pretext of going to read her a story. She pretended to be asleep but he lifted the duvet and her night dress before touching her on the upper leg and towards the vaginal area. Although the child did not understand what was happening she knew it was wrong.

The following year Hall was driving a 13-year-old friend of his previous victim to the local tennis club. He stopped his car in a lay by and switched off the engine, telling the frightened teenager there were “other ways” of thanking him. He grabbed her head and forced his tongue into the child’s mouth.

The third charge dated further back to 1974 when Hall was at a function at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens and where he met a teenager then aged either 16 or 17. He put his arm around her and fondled her breast. She told him to stop and did not see him again.

Hall was well known as a tactile annoyance to female colleagues at the BBC in Manchester where he was one of the biggest stars of the golden age of regional broadcasting.

The self-styled Boswell used his considerable verbal charms and connections to the city’s glamorous celebrities to lure a series of women back to a disused medical room at the old BBC building at Piccadilly where he would spend afternoons in their company, it was claimed. Hall maintained the outward appearance of a happy and successful family man. Yet the scale of his offending was outlined in an 18 count indictment seen for the first time today which included a 1976 allegation of rape although this is to be left to lie on file alongside three other offences relating to a 13-year-old victim.

The youngest of his victims was aged nine whilst the oldest was 17. Two were aged 10, one was 12 whilst the rest were teenagers – five of whom were below the age of consent.

Among those that came forward today was a woman aged 17 when she was attacked. She told ITV News how she had successfully auditioned as a cheerleader for It’s a Knockout which was filming in her town when the presenter pushed her up against a hotel wall and tried to force himself on her.

“I will never, ever forget that voice and that’s the part…over the years every time I’ve heard his voice on the television, on the radio, I just think ‘how can you do it, how can you be like that?’ in full view of everyone after everything you’ve done,” she said. “They shouldn’t treat him lightly. He’s got to be shown that these things should not be going on and that in the future that men think twice before they do these things to women,” she added.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker