Developing

Stuart Hall admits sex assaults on children aged between 9 and 17

'He can only be described as an opportunistic predator'

Veteran BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall has admitted indecently assaulting 13 girls as young as nine years old.

The Crown Prosecution Service said he was an "opportunistic predator" and almost all the victims provided "strikingly similar accounts".

The CPS also said the victims, among them a 10-year-old and an 11-year-old, did not know each other and Hall's pattern of behaviour was "unlawful".

Hall, 83, admitted 14 charges of indecent assault and the offences took place between 1967 and 1985.

The former It's A Knockout presenter, who was also a regular football match summariser on Radio 5 Live, had previously denied any wrongdoing, telling reporters the claims were "pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious".

He said he had endured "a living nightmare" and but for his "very loving family" may have considered taking his own life.

He entered the guilty pleas last month at Preston Crown Court. They have now emerged because reporting restrictions were lifted.

In court, Hall calmly and repeatedly answered "guilty" when the charges were put to him at the hearing on April 16.

He admitted touching and kissing 13 young victims over nearly two decades. Many were daughters of friends.

The Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell QC, told him he would be required to sign the sex offenders' register.

Hall was granted bail until his sentencing date on June 17 and the judge told him all sentencing options remain open, including immediate custody.

Hall's barrister, Crispin Aylett QC, said: "The defendant is, of course, sorry for what he has done. Through me he wishes to apologise to his victims. He is not a man easily moved to self pity but he is only too aware his disgrace is complete."

Hall was told he must live and sleep at his Wilmslow home in Cheshire and have no unsupervised contact with girls under 18.

Hall did not comment on the case as he left court accompanied by his legal team, saying only to waiting reporters that he had a "terrible cold".

He was surrounded by a media scrum as he was led into a waiting car.

In a statement, his lawyers said: "Mr Hall deeply and sincerely regrets his actions. He wishes to issue an unreserved apology to the individuals concerned.

"He now accepts his behaviour and actions were completely wrong and he is very remorseful."

Outside court, Nazir Afzal, chief crown prosecutor for the North West, said: "We prosecuted Stuart Hall because the evidence of the victims clearly established a pattern of behaviour that was unlawful and for which no innocent explanation could be offered.

"His victims did not know each other and almost two decades separated the first and last assaults but almost all of the victims, including one who was only nine at the time of the assault, provided strikingly similar accounts.

"Whether in public or private, Hall would first approach under friendly pretences and then bide his time until the victim was isolated. He can only be described as an opportunistic predator."

The BBC said it would not be featuring Hall again in its programmes.

The corporation added: "The BBC is appalled by the disgraceful actions of Stuart Hall and we would like to express our sympathy to his victims. We will continue to work with the police to assist them in this and any other enquiries they are making."

Hall had a room set aside at the BBC where he could entertain "lady friends" while waiting to appear on screen, a former colleague has said.

Linda McDougall, who worked as a producer at BBC Manchester in late 1960s and 1970s, said the former presenter's activities were widely known about within the organisation.

She said he had an "amazing set-up" at the BBC building at Piccadilly, where the old medical room was reserved for his use.