Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Stuart Hall was an 'opportunistic predator'

'No innocent explanation' for BBC presenter's pattern of behaviour

Veteran BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall leaves Preston Crown Court after it was announced that he has admitted indecently assaulting 13 girls
Veteran BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall leaves Preston Crown Court after it was announced that he has admitted indecently assaulting 13 girls

Broadcaster Stuart Hall was described as an "opportunistic predator" by Nazir Afzal, chief crown prosecutor for the North West.

Outside court he said: "We prosecuted Stuart Hall because the evidence of the victims clearly established a pattern of behaviour that was unlawful and for which no innocent explanation could be offered.

"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."

He added: "We have this week met with the woman who alleged that she had been raped by Stuart Hall, a charge which he has denied. The welfare of complainants is a top priority for us and we always take their concerns into account. In light of the guilty pleas already entered, the complainant no longer wishes to give evidence on the allegation of rape, and we have concluded that it would not be in the public interest to take steps to make her give evidence in court. As such, we will not be proceeding with this charge.

"I would like to thank the victims for having had the bravery to come forward. This case clearly shows that the victims of abuse will not be denied justice by the passage of time and abusers will be held to account."

Lancashire Constabulary thanked Hall's victims for their "bravery" in reporting what had happened.

Detective chief inspector Neil Esseen, of the force's major investigation team, said after today's hearing: "The admissions of Mr Hall will at least spare his victims the ordeal of having to recount their abuse at a trial.

"They have lived with what happened for a long period of time and it cannot have been easy for them to come forward, especially as when they did so, they did not know there were others who had also suffered abuse.

"I would personally like to pay tribute to the victims for their bravery in coming forward to report these crimes.

"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. We will always strive to protect our communities, no matter the status of the alleged perpetrator.

"I would encourage people with any information about sexual abuse or who has been a victim of sexual abuse to come forward and report their concerns confident in the knowledge it will be investigated appropriately and with sensitivity."

 

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