Sunday 18 February 2018

Hall contemplated suicide over sex charges

Former TV presenter Stuart Hall reads a statement outside Preston Magistrates' Court
Former TV presenter Stuart Hall reads a statement outside Preston Magistrates' Court

Victoria Ward London

Stuart Hall, the former 'It's A Knockout' presenter, has contemplated suicide, he said after appearing in court charged with rape and 14 sexual assaults.

The 83-year-old pledged to fight the allegations and "regain his honour".

"The last two months have been a living nightmare," he said outside Preston magistrates' court yesterday, where he appeared briefly for the case to be sent to the crown court.

"I have never gone through so much stress in my life and I am finding it difficult. May I just say these allegations are pernicious, callous, cruel and spurious. I am not guilty and I will be defending these accusations.

"I have a very loving family and they are very supportive and I think but for their love I might have been constrained to take my own life.

"They have encouraged me to fight on, to fight the charges and regain my reputation and good name.

"I was a healthy 83-year-old, but I am now incubating a heart complaint and I'll be lucky to survive another couple of years. But I hope to survive those two years and regain my honour."

Mr Hall was last month charged by Lancashire Police with a rape allegedly committed in 1976 against a 22-year-old woman and 14 offences of indecent assault against 10 girls aged between nine and 16, which allegedly took place between 1967 and 1986.

He did not enter a plea to those charges yesterday, and the case was committed to Preston Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on March 1.

During yesterday's hearing, he spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address. Joanne Cunliffe, prosecuting, told Judge Peter Ward that the allegation of rape could only be tried by a Crown Court.

Mr Hall was released on bail on condition that he lives at home and has no unsupervised contact with girls aged under 18.

The latest charges were brought a week after he had appeared in court on January 7 in relation to separate allegations of sexually assaulting three girls aged between nine and 13 in the 1970s and 1980s.

He denied all three of those charges at the earlier hearing. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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