- POSTED: 07 May 2014 22:44
- UPDATED: 08 May 2014 00:10
Former British broadcaster Stuart Hall repeatedly plied two young teenage girls with drink and raped them in his BBC dressing room, a court heard on Wednesday.
LONDON: Former British broadcaster Stuart Hall repeatedly plied two young teenage girls with drink and raped them in his BBC dressing room, a court heard on Wednesday.
Hall abused the trust of their families and preyed on their vulnerability, state prosecutors claimed as they outlined their case against the 84-year-old broadcasting veteran.
Hall presented the hit BBC television show "It's a Knockout" in the 1970s and 1980s, fronted the BBC regional evening news in northwest England and was a football commentator.
He is one of a string of British celebrities of the 1970s and 1980s to face investigation for sexual offences, in the wake of the revelation that one of the BBC's biggest stars, Jimmy Savile, was a prolific child sex offender.
Last year, Hall admitted 14 offences of indecent assault against 13 girls or young women and was jailed for 15 months. His sentence was increased to 30 months by the Court of Appeal and he remains in prison.
In the current court case, the first complainant, identified only as Girl A, was 14 when she was first allegedly raped, in Hall's dressing room, between 1976 and 1977.
Girl B was first raped in the late 1970s when she was aged under 13, the prosecution alleged.
"He was trusted by each of the families and in return he abused their trust by raping and indecently assaulting their children," prosecutor Peter Wright told the jury at Preston Crown Court in northwest England.
"You will hear certain similarities in how he plied them with drink, notwithstanding their tender age, or took advantage of their intoxication.
"You will hear of how he preyed, we say, upon their vulnerability."
He said Hall did not dispute having sexual intercourse with the complainants, but will assert that they were aged 15 or 16 and the activity was consensual.
"It happened, we say, not because they found this middle-aged man who was almost three times their age sexually attractive," Wright said.
"He exploited the position of influence he had over each of them for his own sexual gratification."
Both alleged victims became "subservient and wholly submissive to his sexual demands" as the abuse continued.
Hall is charged with seven counts of rape -- five when the complainant was aged under 16 (the age of consent in England) -- and two of indecent assault against Girl A.
He is also charged with eight counts of rape -- one when the complainant was aged under 13 -- and three indecent assaults against Girl B.
In the first alleged incident, "he approached her in the stables, partially removed her clothing and raped her against a wall," Wright said.
"He flattered her and told her she was special and that he loved her.
"She was a pre-pubescent child."
He took a cutting of her pubic hair as a trophy and kept it hidden in his dressing room, Wright alleged.
"On occasions he would pour champagne on to her naked body and flatter her. He treated her as his plaything," the prosecutor said.
Known for his florid descriptive style, scattered with allusions to literary classics, Hall was until recently a familiar voice on BBC radio commentating on English Premier League football.