Stuart Hall ‘surprised by fresh claims’

Veteran broadcaster Stuart Hall
Veteran broadcaster Stuart Hall
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Paedophile broadcaster Stuart Hall told police he was “surprised” when confronted with fresh sexual assault allegations made by two women, a jury has heard.

He added it was “of serious concern” that they had “waited nearly 12 months” to make their claims which he denied.

Hall, 84, has pleaded not guilty at Preston Crown Court to 20 allegations of rape and indecent assault between 1976 and 1981 against two young girls.

It is said the former It’s a Knockout presenter groomed his victims and plied them with alcohol before he raped them.

One of the complainants said Hall raped her when she was aged 12 at a stables and went on to rape her at various locations, including at two BBC studios, when she was 14 and 15.

The other alleged victim said she was raped on numerous occasions at the same Manchester studios at Piccadilly and Oxford Road when she was aged between 14 and 16.

Hall said the rape at the stables did not take place, while other sexual contact was consensual. He has admitted though to indecently assaulting the second complainant when she was aged 13.

The jury has heard the first complainant, Girl A, contacted a firm of solicitors on June 5 last year - a month after it entered the public domain that Hall had pleaded guilty to 14 offences involving 13 young girls.

Two days later she contacted police and went on to make a witness statement on August 7 last year.

Girl B was asked by police in December 2012 - when Hall was initially arrested in the first investigation - whether she would make a witness statement in relation to a complainant but she said she did not want to become involved.

Girl B made her first contact with the police over her own allegations on July 12 last year, the jury was told. She gave video recorded interviews in the days that followed.

Last October, Hall was brought from prison and interviewed about the new allegations.

After he was formally cautioned, Hall’s solicitor read out a statement on his behalf in which the defendant said he had accepted legal advice not to answer any questions put to him regarding the accusations.

In his statement, Hall said he had known both complainants for a number of years.

He went on: “I am surprised by the nature of their allegations and I deny them.

“I am concerned that they have been made only after I pleaded guilty to a number of offences and then was sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

“It is only now at the end of October that I am being interviewed about these allegations.

“In relation to (Girl B), (Girl B) spoke to the police in December 2012 before I was charged with the offence in relation to (victim from first court case) and at that time declined to assist the police.

“Thereafter (Girl B) offered her support to me.”

He added that it should be noted that Girl A had approached a firm of personal injury solicitors before going to the police.

Hall continued: “I am now approaching my 84th birthday and my health understandably continues to deteriorate.

“It is of serious concern that these two complainants have waited nearly 12 months after I was arrested (December 2012) to make their allegation and in the light of extensive media coverage I do not think it possible to have a fair trial.”

He was subsequently charged and made no comment.

Hall was jailed last year for 15 months after he admitted indecently assaulting 13 girls, aged from nine to 17.

The sentence was increased to 30 months by the Court of Appeal after the Attorney General argued it was “unduly lenient”.

The prosecution case has ended and the defence case is due to start this afternoon.