UK & World News

  • 8 May 2014, 0:16

Stuart Hall 'Poured Champagne On Plaything'

Former broadcaster and convicted paedophile Stuart Hall exploited young girls and preyed on their vulnerability, a court has heard.

He is alleged to have raped his victims at BBC studios in Manchester and on one occasion to have poured champagne on to a young girl's naked body, treating her "as his plaything".

He is said to have sought her silence using a combination of emotional blackmail and manipulation.

The ex-BBC sports commentator is appearing at Preston Crown Court accused of raping and indecently assaulting two girls - one of them when she was under the age of 13.

Hall, 84, who presented TV show It's A Knockout in the 1970s, is said to have plied the girls with drink before taking advantage of them.

Prosecuting barrister Peter Wright QC told the jury: "You will hear of how he preyed upon their vulnerability and the trust reposed in him by them and also by their parents.

"It happened because each of them was, at the time, emotionally and physically extremely vulnerable by reason of their situation and age.

"These were young, impressionable teenagers being groomed by a sexual predator into satisfying his sexual requirements."

The jury heard one girl was raped when she was 14 after being invited by Hall to the BBC studios.

Mr Wright said the broadcaster, then aged 47, gave the girl cigarettes and plied her with alcohol.

He told jurors: "This was not a mutually consensual act of intercourse between two people on an equal footing.

"This was a grown man exerting his influence and control over an impressionable and vulnerable young girl, intoxicated by his status and also by drink."

The alleged victim is said to have kept the abuse quiet until last year when she told her husband.

The court was told she went to the police only after her husband tried to blackmail her for money with the threat of telling her family.

Hall denies 15 charges of rape and five of indecent assault but has pleaded guilty to one charge of indecent assault.

The defendant was close to both the girls and their families.

The offences are alleged to have taken place between 1976 and 1981 but were only reported to police last year.

The court has heard the veteran broadcaster is currently serving a 30-month prison sentence following a separate case last year in which he admitted indecently assaulting 13 female victims.

Mr Wright argued Hall's previous offences demonstrate a pattern of behaviour in which Hall was "opportunistic and acted in a sexually predatory manner and was prepared to take considerable risk".

One of the alleged victims, now in her fifties, said she had gone along with the sex because she was drunk and felt flattered.

But she told the court: "I don't think I was thinking straight at all. I don't think I was thinking of anything other than I wanted to go home to be sick."

Hall's barrister Crispin Aylett QC argued that whatever his shortcomings his client was not a rapist.

He told the court: "To people of a certain age, Stuart Hall will be known as the presenter of It's A Knockout, a good-natured TV programme in which members of the public cheerfully made fools of themselves on camera.

"To a younger generation of sports fans, you will know him as a rather flamboyant and eccentric football commentator.

"But to everyone now, Stuart Hall is simply a convicted paedophile who at the end of each court day goes back to his prison cell."

The trial continues.

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