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.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice