Veteran broadcaster Stuart Hall's prison sentence for indecently assaulting 13 girls was doubled to 30 months today after the Appeal Court ruled that the punishment was inadequate for the crimes that he had committed.
The disgraced former presenter of 'It's a Knockout' was told by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge that he had "got away with it" for decades that he had committed over 18 years from 1968 and lived a lie for more than half of his life.
Hall, 83, who earlier this year admitted 14 counts of indecent assault against young girls as young as nine, kept his head bowed as he listened to proceedings via videolink from Preston prison and showed no reaction as the decision was announced.
Today's hearing followed 165 complaints about the length of his original sentence after Hall secured a reduction of five months by pleading guilty to kissing and touching the girls in May. Attorney General Dominic Grieve had earlier told the court that the 83-year-old's sentence was unduly lenient and should be extended to reflect the culpability of Hall, the harm caused to his victims and to deter others.
Hall exploited his position of trust and authority at the BBC to gain access to four of the girls, and was able to spend time alone with others on the pretence of giving them elocution lessons. After admitting his guilt, the presenter and popular fixture on BBC Radio's football results shows, accepted that his "disgrace is complete" after previously pronouncing the claims as "cruel, pernicious and spurious". However, since his conviction fresh allegations have emerged against the disgraced presenter who was described as an opportunistic predator in court. Lancashire Police said they were working "closely" with the Crown Prosecution Service over further allegations of sex crimes against children.
Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, sitting with Lady Justice Rafferty and Mrs Justice Macur, ruled that Hall's actions warranted a longer time behind bars after Mr Grieve said that sentence "failed adequately to reflect the gravity of the totality of the offences" and public concerns. The maximum sentence for indecent assault carries a prison term of 10 years.
Hall's QC Crispin Aylett had argued that there was nothing wrong with the sentence imposed and his client had been punished, disgraced and financially ruined.
Outside the court, Mr Grieve said: "I asked the court to consider the multiple offending by Stuart Hall over a prolonged period of time which involved numerous victims.
"I also asked that the court take into account the breaches of trust in this case - Hall carried out some of these offences in places where the victims were entitled to feel safe, he used his celebrity status to invite them to attend the BBC, and he also displayed an element of planning and premeditation.
I am pleased that the court found that 15 months was unduly lenient and have today increased that sentence to 30 months and I hope that this case has highlighted the fact that historical sexual offences are always taken very seriously and show that the law still applies, whoever the offender may be."