TV presenter guilty of child sex abuse dating back decades

A former British TV presenter is facing prison after he admitted a catalogue of sex abuse allegations dating back nearly 50 years.

Veteran broadcaster Stuart Hall, who presented It's A Knockout, was described by prosecutors as an "opportunistic predator" whose 13 victims included a 9-year-old girl whom he sexually assaulted in her bedroom while attending a dinner party at her parents' house.

Another victim, then 17, described how she was pushed up against a wall and attacked after auditioning as a cheerleader during filming of the long-running TV competition.

The investigation by Lancashire Police began after a woman contacted Independent newspaper columnist Yasmin Alabhai-Brown in the wake of the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal. The women described how she was invited to the BBC studios in Manchester after meeting Hall at a school prize giving and later abused. Ten victims subsequently came forward.

Yesterday Hall, 83, admitted 14 counts of sexual assault which ranged from kissing to the digital penetration of his 13 mainly teenage victims.

A further charge of rape and three other counts of sexual assault were allowed to lay on file with the agreement of the complainants. The BBC, where Hall was still working as a freelance match summariser on Radio 5 Live until his arrest last year, described his crimes as "disgraceful" and said he would no longer appear on air for the corporation.

Hall's barrister Crispin Aylett, QC, told a brief hearing at Preston Crown Court that his client was "only too aware that his disgrace is complete". Hall will be sentenced in June after being released on bail and faces a maximum prison sentence of up to 10 years.

He was told he must not have unsupervised access to children and will be required to sign the Sex Offenders Register.

- Independent

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