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BBC presenter Stuart Hall admits indecent assaults

Veteran BBC presenter Stuart Hall will be sentenced on 17 June for 14 charges of indecently assaulting girls with one victim as young as nine

AFP , Thursday 2 May 2013
Stuart Hall
FILE - In this Thursday Feb. 7, 2013 file photo, former BBC broadcaster presenter Stuart Hall makes a statement to the media after appearing in court in Preston, England. (AP Photo)
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Veteran British TV and radio presenter Stuart Hall has admitted 14 charges of indecently assaulting girls with one victim as young as nine, prosecutors said on Thursday.

The 83-year-old former presenter of the television hit "It's a Knockout" in the 1970s and 1980s was an "opportunistic predator" who befriended his victims before assaulting them, prosecutors said.

The assaults, involving 13 victims, took place between 1967 and 1985.

Hall's victims did not know each other but "almost all of the victims, including one who was only nine at the time of the assault, provided strikingly similar accounts", said Nazir Afzal, chief crown prosecutor for northwest England.

"Whether in public or private, Hall would first approach under friendly pretences and then bide his time until the victim was isolated. He can only be described as an opportunistic predator," he added.

Hall had previously denied the assaults and described them as "pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious".

But he admitted the 14 offences in a court hearing in April although the details could not be reported until Thursday.

He will be sentenced on June 17.

Hall did not comment as he left Preston Crown Court after a hearing on Thursday, but his lawyer said he wanted to apologise to his victims.

Crispin Aylett said: "He is not a man easily moved to self pity but he is all too aware that his disgrace is complete."

A charge of rape that Hall denies has been allowed to rest on the file after the alleged victim said she did not want to go through a trial.

Known for his florid descriptive style, scattered with allusions to literary classics, Hall was in recent years a familiar voice on BBC radio commentating on English Premier League football, but has not worked for the corporation since the allegations first emerged.

Police have stressed that the charges against Hall are not part of the investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of children against the late BBC star Jimmy Savile.

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