Thursday 14 December 2017

Paedophile broadcaster Stuart Hall home for Christmas after serving half prison sentence

Veteran broadcaster Stuart Hall
Veteran broadcaster Stuart Hall

Kim Pilling, Press Association

DISGRACED paedophile broadcaster Stuart Hall has been released from prison ahead of his 86th birthday next week, sources have confirmed.

The former It's A Knockout presenter walked free from HMP Wymott in Leyland, Lancashire, after he served half of his second jail term for historical child abuse offences.

In June 2013, he was jailed for 15 months after he admitted indecently assaulting 13 girls, aged between nine and 17, before it was doubled by the Court of the Appeal which ruled the sentence was "inadequate".

Last May he received an additional 30 months in jail - to run consecutively - for two indecent assaults on another girl.

Hall, 85, would have received a minimum eight-year jail term last year for one of those assaults if prosecuted under current laws but instead the court was limited to the maximum sentence at the time of the offence.

Various judges were told by his legal team that he faced dying in prison and that he was financially ruined.

Father-of-two Hall, who turns 86 on Christmas Day, will be on licence for the next 15 months and as a convicted sex offender will be subject to strict condtions.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "We do not comment on individuals.

"Public protection is our top priority and offenders automatically released on licence at the halfway point of their sentence are subject to strict controls.

"If they fail to comply with these conditions or their behaviour indicates it is no longer safe for them to remain in the community, they can be immediately returned to prison."

Before he admitted the first set of sex offences, Hall signed over to his wife the couple's £1.2 million house in Wilmslow, Cheshire, which is currently for sale.

Hall was stripped of his OBE for broadcasting and charity in the wake of his convictions.

He was a familiar face and voice in British broadcasting for half a century, and his eccentric and erudite football match summaries made him a cult figure on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Before admitting he was a paedophile he stridently protested his innocence to reporters at an early court appearance in 2013 as he labelled the allegations as ''pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious''.

Hall, whose full name is James Stuart Hall, said he had endured ''a living nightmare'' and, but for his ''very loving family'', may have considered taking his own life.

Following his first arrest, Hall told police the complainants were all lying as part of ''a vendetta going on against people in the public eye'',

He said that the claims were ''dreams and the light imaginings of men''.

Preston Crown Court went on to hear the veteran BBC brodacaster had abused his celebrity status to indecently assault 13 young girls from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Three months after the Court of Appeal doubled his original sentence, Hall was re-arrested in prison in October 2013 after two more complainants came forward.

Hall was convicted at Preston Crown Court of another indecent assault but found not guilty of 15 counts of rape and four of indecent assault in May 2014. He had earlier admitted another indecent assault against the same victim.

A detailed investigation into Hall's conduct at the BBC was carried out by retired High Court judge Dame Linda Dobbs.

Her inquiry is forming part of the Dame Janet Smith Review into the BBC's culture and practices during the years that Jimmy Savile worked at the corporation. That review remains delayed due to ongoing investigations by the Metropolitan Police into sexual abuse.

Liz Dux, specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, which represented 12 of Hall's victims, said: "Hall has settled the civil claims against him without any admission of culpability and with no sense of remorse for the harm he had done.

"His victims will feel he has got off lightly and is now free to live the rest of life unaffected whereas they are left with the consequences."

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