Stuart Hall is charged with sex attacks on young girls: It's A Knockout host facing claims dating back decades
Veteran broadcaster was arrested at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, yesterday morning
Hall charged by detectives investigating historical allegations of indecent assault relating to three different girls aged between 8 and 17Alleged offences are said to have taken place between 1974 and 1984Former presenter was this evening bailed to appear in court on January 7
22:49 GMT, 5 December 2012
Veteran TV and radio presenter Stuart Hall was last night charged with indecently assaulting three girls.
The former It’s A Knockout host and BBC Radio 5 Live commentator was arrested by police during a dawn swoop on his 1.5million detached home yesterday.
The 82-year-old was then taken to a police station where he was questioned for several hours over accusations of indecent assault.
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It's a Knockout presenter Stuart Hall, pictured receiving his MBE in October last year, has been charged with sex offence allegations after a dawn raid on his home yesterday morning
Meeting the Royals: Stuart Hall and Sarah Ferguson (left) and with Prince Edward (right) during 1987's It's A Royal Knockout charity special
Thorough search: Police remove items from Stuart Hall's home in Wilmslow yesterday for forensic tests
Last night he was charged with
indecently assaulting three girls – one as young as eight – in alleged
attacks dating back to 1974.
John Dilworth of the Crown Prosecution
Service said: ‘Following investigations by Lancashire Police into
allegations of sexual assault by Stuart Hall I have reviewed all the
evidence that they have gathered and have authorised Lancashire Police
to charge him with three counts of indecent assault.’
The first charge is that between September and December 1974 Hall indecently assaulted a woman who was then aged 16 or 17 years.
The second charge alleges he indecently assaulted a girl aged eight or nine in 1983.
Broadcasting stalwart: TV Presenter Stuart Hall posed at home with his wife Hazel in 1979
An officer directs police cars into Mr Hall's 1.5million Cheshire home
Police officers leaving with bags of evidence from the family home of TV presenter Stuart Hall in Wilmslow Cheshire, yesterday
Finally he is accused of indecently assaulting a 13-year-old girl between July and September 1984.
Mr Dilworth said: ‘I have concluded
that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction
and that it is in the public interest to prosecute this case.’
Hall, famed for his distinctively
highbrow approach to football commentary, was released from custody and
bailed to appear before magistrates next month.
He was arrested in the early hours of
yesterday morning at his family home in a quiet leafy area of Wilmslow,
Cheshire, where he lives with his wife of 44 years, Hazel, 74.
The TV presenter was famous for appearing on It's A Knockout and still contributes to BBC Radio 5 Live
Police officers arrived early yesterday morning to arrest the veteran presenter and search his Wilmslow home
The couple, who have two grown-up
children, Daniel and Francesca, are popular among the local community
where they carry out a lot of charity work.
Yesterday forensic officers were
searching their five-bedroom house on the edge of the upmarket town –
which also boasts Sir Alex Ferguson as a resident.
Neighbours were not answering their
doors yesterday but a builder working on a nearby property said: ‘We saw
two police cars in his driveway at 8am but had no inkling as to what
was going on.
‘We didn’t see him come out of the house or anything. The next thing we knew the police cars had gone.
‘It’s incredible to think they had come to arrest Stuart Hall.’
Hall meeting Muhammad Ali, former world heavyweight boxing champion, (left) and Henry Cooper (right), former world title contender
Mr Hall presenting It's A Knockout, the iconic gameshow that ran on-and-off between 1966 and 2001
BBC Radio 5 Live last night announced that Hall would not be working for them while the police investigation was continuing.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘In light of the
very serious nature of these charges Stuart Hall will not be working at
the BBC while the police continue with their enquiries.’
A police spokesman said: ‘We take all allegations of sexual abuse extremely seriously.
‘We would encourage people with any
information about sexual abuse or who has been a victim of sexual abuse
to come forward and report their concerns confident in the knowledge it
will be investigated appropriately and with sensitivity.’
Zany: It's A Knockout was known for it's crazy games and madcap costumes
Mr Hall is known for his impassioned delivery and flowery phrases during his football commentary
Hall has been bailed to appear at Preston Magistrates’ Court on January 7.
The broadcaster’s arrest comes as the
beleaguered BBC continues to deal with the fall-out of the Jimmy
Savile sex abuse scandal.
Police confirmed the arrest did not
form part of Operation Yewtree – the investigation into alleged sexual
offences by late Top Of The Pops presenter Savile and others.
A spokesman said of Hall’s arrest: ‘I can categorically confirm this arrest is not part of Operation Yewtree in any way.’
Stuart Hall and wife Hazel Hall in 1986
Hall is an avid antique clock collector. He is pictured here at home in Cheshire in 2007
‘National treasure’ who took Shakespeare to the terraces
Stuart Hall’s distinctive tones, exuberant delivery and often florid football match reports have enlivened the airwaves for five decades.
Along the way, the veteran broadcaster has earned ‘national treasure’ status – not least for his equally over-excitable commentaries on It’s A Knockout.
As competitors clad in giant, silly
costumes hurled themselves around obstacle courses and frequently fell
over, Hall regularly failed to suppress his mirth and his fits of
incoherent laughter became, for many, as big a part of the popular BBC
TV show as its slapstick challenges.
A 'national treasure': Stuart Hall presented It's A Knockout from 1972 to 1982
So popular was the show, which Hall presented from 1972 to 1982 (as well as several subsequent special shows), that nearly one in three surveyed in a recent poll said it was one of the bygone features of British life they would most like to return.
Hall, who was raised in Hyde, Manchester, and Glossop, Derbyshire, joined the BBC in 1959 as a general reporter on Radio Newsreel. Between 1965 and 1990 he presented the BBC’s regional news programmes for the North West.
A lifelong Manchester City supporter, Hall was the original host of BBC quiz A Question Of Sport. He still works as a football reporter for BBC Radio 5 Live, where his reports often feature allusions to Shakespeare and various linguistic gymnastics.
He claims to have coined the phrase the ‘beautiful game’ to describe football.
In 1999 a House of Commons motion, congratulating Hall on his 40-year career, stated: ‘His rich mellifluous voice is redolent of Sinden and Gielgud intertwining Shakespeare, Keats, Wordsworth et al amid the mud and tears at Accrington Stanley.’
Hall was awarded the OBE last December in the New Year Honours list for his services to broadcasting and charity.
said afterwards: ‘I’ve always regarded myself as a second-rate
provincial hack. Well, that was yesterday. Now I’ve got the OBE, I’m
still a provincial second-rate hack, but I’m a good one!’
Last year, asked if retirement was on the agenda, he said: ‘I intend to go on and on and on.’
Silly costumes: Stuart Hall pictured with Su Pollard and Les Dawson in historical fancy dress for a Royal edition of It's A Knockout in 1987
VIDEO: Stuart Hall meets Sarah Ferguson and Prince Edward on It's A Royal Knockout.
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