Hall's rape denials 'are ludicrous'

File photo dated 02/05/13 of Stuart Hall who plied two young girls with drink and preyed upon their vulnerability to repeatedly rape them, a jury has heard. Hall, 84, is said to have raped and indecently assaulted two young girls on various dates more tha

File photo dated 02/05/13 of Stuart Hall who plied two young girls with drink and preyed upon their vulnerability to repeatedly rape them, a jury has heard. Hall, 84, is said to have raped and indecently assaulted two young girls on various dates more tha

First published in National News © by

Paedophile Stuart Hall is a predatory and calculating opportunist whose denials of rape and sexual abuse were dismissed as "ludicrous" and "psycho babble" in court today.

Peter Wright QC told the jury of eight women and four men that Hall had shown no remorse throughout to his alleged victims, whose youth was no bar to their "defilement".

The 84-year-old former BBC broadcaster sat in the dock, hands clasped on his lap, listening through headphones as Mr Wright gave the prosecution's closing speech to the jury at Preston Crown Court.

Hall has pleaded not guilty to 20 allegations of rape and indecent assault between 1976 and 1981 against two young girls.

The complainants came forward after he was jailed last year for a string of historical indecent assaults against 13 young girls.

Hall claims both girls consented to sex, but did not give evidence in his own defence.

And, Mr Wright said, "because he did not make the walk from the dock to the witness box", there is a "deafening silence" from him.

The prosecutor reminded the jury that Hall "engineered circumstances" to get them alone, often in his BBC studios dressing room, before they were plied with drink, "numbed" by alcohol and incapable of giving consent.

The first alleged victim, known only as Girl A, said she was raped on numerous occasions at the same Manchester studios at Piccadilly and Oxford Road when she was aged between 14 and 16.

The other, Girl B, said Hall raped her when she was aged 12 at a stables and went on to rape her at various locations, including at two BBC studios, when she was 14 and 15.

Mr Wright poured scorn on the defence psychologist's claim that the incident at the stables was a "confabulation" and did not happen.

Dr Ian Anderson said that therapy or dreams could produce false memories. He told the jury yesterday: "The person who has the memory has a honest belief that it is true."

Mr Wright said: "Was she really making that up?

"Or is it that aged 12 or even younger, when cleaning the stables, this opportunist arrived... that he took advantage of her and left her severely traumatised?

"So a recurring dream, an event that never took place or, in the context of all the evidence in this case, a proposition that is quite simply ludicrous. It is psycho-babble."

Mr Wright reminded the jury that Hall has already admitted one charge of indecently assaulting the same girl while she lay in bed - along with another youngster on the same night.

He said: "So what a remarkable coincidence that a young girl should have dreamt she was abused at the hands of this man only for it to actually come true within a relatively short period of time."

Hall had not only chosen not to go in the witness box but his only account in his prepared statement to police was an "untruthful and disingenuous" document questioning the "timing" and motivation of complaints made against him, the prosecutor said.

Mr Wright said there was "not a word of apology, not a single expression of remorse", and, he added: "It contains the innuendo that they were jumping on a compensation bandwagon."

Hall's case changed from one of "flat denial" to a "wholesale assault on the integrity of the women, their motivation for complaining".

"Stuart Hall is an opportunist then and now," Mr Wright said.

"Then in his sexual conduct, now in his responses to the allegations and his conduct thereafter."

Mr Wright said the truth is that Hall has a "propensity" to sexually abuse female children and young teenagers, using alcohol as a "precursor".

"A man who doesn't consider the age of his victim as a bar to their defilement.

"When, even when abusing his victims, will tell them they are 'gorgeous'.

"A man who does not set boundaries to his conduct, but rather, who sets himself a challenge, the challenge of what risks he can take in his pursuit of sexual pleasure."

Crispin Aylett QC, defending, opened his closing remarks to the jury with the comment that he "was finally going to play my joker" by taking twice as long as the prosecutor.

He went on: "You may think that this is no country for this old man and, arrested in December 2012 shortly before his 83rd birthday, he had been drowning in a sea of sexual misconduct of his own making ever since.

"In June last year he went under for the first time aged 83, sent to prison for the first time in his life for 15 months."

Mr Aylett said the defendant would have found jail "bewildering" and "frightening" but "he must have known he deserved it".

He added: "And when he got used to it he must have come up for air.

"He goes under the waves for a second time as the Court of Appeal increases his sentence to 30 months.

"If he thought that the worse was behind him, well how wrong he was. And now he is in danger of going under for the third and final time.

"If the waters are about to close over his head for the third and final time, before he does he has the consolation that you, a jury of 12, can look beyond the headlines because you have been listening to the evidence."

The barrister pondered whether Hall would be in the dock now if the judge at Preston Crown Court had given him 30 months in the first instance.

He said Girl A had waited until after Hall had pleaded guilty last year to come forward to a solicitor looking for compensation - not the police.

Mr Aylett said: "She says she wants revenge and the best way of hurting the defendant is through his pocket but she also wants compensation doesn't she."

Girl B contacted the police the day after the Attorney General announced his intention to refer the original sentence to the Court of Appeal, he said.

He recalled questioning Girl B about whether she was going to claim for damages after Hall admitted at the beginning of the trial that he indecently assaulted her when she was aged 13.

He said: "She said she had given it absolutely no thought and found the suggestion insulting.

"If that is the truth then she was entitled to be insulted and I have done her a disservice.

"Did you believe her? Is it the truth?

"Had the witness said I'm not going to make a claim for compensation then it would mean you could put entirely from your mind any financial interests that she may have."

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