Stuart Hall’s traumatised victims slam ‘lenient’ jail term as shamed broadcaster is likely to be free in seven months
THERE was fury as the former TV host was jailed for just 15 months for carrying out sex assaults on 14 victims over more a period of almost 20 years.
The disgraced star, 83, admitted 14 sex assaults on girls as young as nine but is likely to be free in seven-and-a-half months after he completes half the sentence.
Many of his victims were in court yesterday and one of them had tears in her eyes as she said: “It’s not enough. He should have got more.”
Another victim, who was 17 when Hall sexually assaulted her, said: “That’s not justice? I’d have said at least four years.”
Former BBC broadcaster Hall, who presented It’s a Knockout from the 70s to the 90s, pleaded guilty in April to indecently assaulting 13 girls between 1967 and 1986. The maximum sentence for these type of offences is 10 years.
Peter Saunders, of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said: “I think Stuart Hall will consider that he has got off lightly. Fifteen months is an incredibly lenient sentence.”
And NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said it was “not a great day for justice or for the victims”.
The Ministry of Justice confirmed anyone serving a sentence of more than 12 months must be released from prison on licence at the halfway point.
But last night it was revealed that Hall’s soft sentence could be increased.
Attorney General Dominic Grieve will review the jail term after a string of complaints that it was unduly lenient.
The court heard details of the sex abuse attacks carried out by Hall on girls aged between nine and 17, from 1967 to 1987.
Three girls, aged between 11 and 14, were assaulted when they attended elocution lessons at the defendant’s home.
Another girl, aged 10, was invited to swim in his outdoor swimming pool after he picked her up in his car and stopped at a supermarket to buy champagne.
She went for a swim and was given an It’s A Knockout T-shirt to wear once she had got out of her wet bathing costume.
The victim recalled being on the bed with the defendant who told her to cuddle him “like she would one of her teddies”.
A nine-year-old was indecently assaulted at her parents’ home as she lay half asleep in bed. And a 13-year-old was abused as he drove her from a tennis centre and pulled into the side of the road.
He told her that a thank you was sometimes not enough in words and that “people need to show their thanks in other ways”.
Hall sat in the dock at Preston Crown Court yesterday. His age, poor health and the fact the last known offence was 25 years ago were taken into account when Judge Anthony Russell QC handed down the sentence.
The judge said Hall – a former TV journalist and 5 live football commentator – was famed for being charming but had a darker side.
Mr Russell told Hall: “In the course of your long career you have given pleasure to millions of people as a local television presenter, nationally in the It’s a Knockout series, and as a highly regarded sports commentator.
“The general public now know that there is a darker side to you, one hidden from public view until now. A side which you were able to conceal, taking advantage of your status as a well-liked celebrity.
“I pay tribute to the victims who have come forward, it is by no means an easy thing to do.
“The repeated sexual abuse of young children, too young to consent and in no position to resist your advances is a serious crime.
“It must be made clear to anyone tempted to take advantage of young children and other vulnerable victims that they face condemnation and punishment.”
The judge said Hall would have been sentenced to 20 months if he had been convicted after a trial.
When the star was arrested in December, he said the accusers were lying. But he finally admitted the truth in court. Hall showed no emotion as he was led from the dock to begin his sentence.
He was also told to pay £11,522 towards prosecution costs and the judge, who described him a wealthy man, added: “Any of your victims who wish to claim compensation should do so through the civil courts or statutory schemes, if
It emerged last night that more victims are ready to come forward. Lawyer Alan Collins said the 16 complainants who his firm are representing are probably just “the tip of the iceberg”.
One victim, who was 13 when he sexually assaulted her, said she knows of more youngsters who he abused.
Hall, who lives with wife Hazel in a £1.5million home in Prestbury, Cheshire, faces financial ruin because of spiralling legal costs, failed business ventures and the prospect of paying damages to his victims.
Hall was awarded an OBE in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to broadcasting and charity but will be stripped of the honour.
The BBC said that the presenter will never work for them again and bosses have launched an investigation.