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Abuser Hall has 'unduly lenient' jail term doubled

BY CATHY GORDON AND JAN COLLEY

Disgraced veteran broadcaster Stuart Hall has had his 15-month jail term for sex offences doubled by Court of Appeal judges.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, Lady Justice Rafferty and Mrs Justice Macur, sitting in London, ruled that the original 15 months was "inadequate" and should be increased to 30 months.

Hall (83), from Wilmslow, Cheshire, who admitted 14 counts of indecent assault against girls as young as nine between 1967 and 1987, kept his head bowed as he listened to proceedings via video link from HMP Preston and showed no reaction as the decision was announced.

The case was referred by Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who argued that Hall's sentence was "unduly lenient" as it failed to adequately reflect the gravity of his offending and the "public concern" about such crimes.

The former It's A Knockout presenter was given 15 months at Preston Crown Court last month by the Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell QC.

But yesterday Lord Judge said Hall "got away with it" for decades and had "lived a lie for more than half of his life". He added that Hall would have been seen as a "figure of power and authority and influence" by his victims and his broadcasting career "put him in a position of trust that he was then able to exploit".

The appeal judges ruled that one of the 15-month sentences Hall received for the assaults should run consecutively to the others, thereby doubling his prison term.

After the ruling, 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 the court found that 15 months was unduly lenient and have increased that sentence to 30 months and I hope 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."

Hall exploited his role as a popular BBC presenter to target four of his victims, while he assaulted another four on the pretence of giving elocution lessons to them at his home.

Lord Judge said the court took the view that Hall's earlier public denial was a "seriously aggravating" feature of the case.

VICTIMS

One 59-year-old woman, whose identity is protected, claims she was attacked by Hall while sunbathing, but has been told her case cannot be heard in a UK court because the alleged offence took place overseas. The woman told the BBC the incident, which allegedly took place 35 years ago, happened when she found herself alone with Hall. She said he was "charming and avuncular" at first but soon began to use sexual language, and assaulted her when she told him to stop.

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