BBC U-turn over decision to hold new ‘freestanding’ inquiry into how Stuart Hall was allowed to abuse children

This is an update on the Stuart Hall story. Remember the BBC presenter who had a heap of middle aged women suddenly all join forces and accuse him of sexually assaulting em back in the 60s n 70s? Well, not long after pleading guilty to the charges, another group of women have come forward with fresh allegations. Bet he never thought his retirement years would be steeped in scandal! Its no laughing matter though.

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  • Lord Patten, BBC Trust chairman, yesterday dismissed calls for an inquiry
  • He said BBC would look into Hall’s reign of abuse as part of the Dame Janet Smith review into the Jimmy Savile scandal
  • But Corporation today confirmed it will hold a formal inquiry into Stuart Hall

 

PUBLISHED: 14:28 GMT, 6 May 2013 | UPDATED: 16:35 GMT, 6 May 201The BBC has bowed to pressure to launch an inquiry into paedophile presenter Stuart Hall’s reign of child abuse.

Former staff said Hall’s sick behaviour was well known at the corporation, but until now the BBC has resisted a new inquiry.

Only on Sunday, BBC Trust Lord Patten ruled one out, dismissing calls from victims and MPs by saying it ‘would probably delay arriving at the truth’.

Stuart Hall was described as an 'opportunistic predator' at Preston Crown Court on ThursdayU-turn: The BBC has announced it will launch a formal inquiry into presenter Stuart Hall, pictured outside Preston Crown Court

He said the existing Dame Janet Smith review into the Jimmy Savile crisis would be widened to examine Hall’s two-decades abuse rampage.

But within 24 hours the corporation performed a dramatic U-turn by announcing a new ‘freestanding investigation’.

 

A spokesman said: ‘In light of a potential conflict of interest with Dame Janet Smith there will be a freestanding investigation covering Stuart Hall’s conduct at the BBC which will feed into her Review.

‘This work will be led by a different individual appointed by the BBC.’

The ‘different individual’ who will lead the inquiry was not named by the BBC, leading to speculation the corporation has yet to find a suitable person willing to take on the task.

A spokeswoman said their identity would be revealed ‘in due course’.

Lord Patten told The Andrew Marr Show that a review in to the Jimmy Savile scandal would also include questions over how Stuart Hall was able to abuse his victimsLord Patten told The Andrew Marr Show that a review in to the Jimmy Savile scandal would also include questions over how Stuart Hall was able to abuse his victims

Hall abused children as young as nine. He invited teenagers desperate for fame to his BBC dressing room and molested them, and also groped girls in recording studios and even in a sick bay on BBC premises. Some of the dressing room attacks were allegedly videoed by a floor manager known as ‘The Pimp’.

Lord Patten said it was clear there were people who had been willing to ‘turn a blind eye’ to the ‘thoroughly unpleasant’ behaviour of the It’s A Knockout presenter.

He said the BBC would be liable to pay compensation to his victims.

Hall has pleaded guilty to assaulting 13 girls between 1967 and 1986. In striking parallels to Savile, BBC managers were afraid to intervene because he was such a successful star.

However, unlike with Savile – who died in 2012 – 83-year-old Hall is still alive and may yet face further sex abuse charges.

Police have confirmed they are investigating claims made by more women who have come forward.

Golden boy: Stuart Hall pictured while working as a presenter for the Look North news programmeGolden boy: Stuart Hall pictured while working as a presenter for the Look North news programme

Hall was awarded an OBE for his services to broadcasting and charity last yearHall was awarded an OBE for his services to broadcasting and charity last year

A BBC source said its inquiry would need to be careful not to interfere with any new police investigations.

It is understood corporation executives are in talks with senior officers to avoid a potential clash.

The BBC move will be welcomed by victims’ groups.

The National Association for People Abused in Childhood charity has said the BBC ‘gave Hall unfettered opportunities to carry out his abuse’, and said it owed them answers.

Jimmy Savile's time at the BBC is being reviewed by Dame Janet SmithJimmy Savile’s time at the BBC is being reviewed by Dame Janet Smith

A former colleague of Hall’s, Linda McDougall, said BBC bosses must have known about his behaviour because he was ‘unable to talk to a woman without touching her’.

MP Rob Wilson said: ‘Once again the BBC Trust and Lord Patten look slow and reluctant to act. Only yesterday he said no new investigation, today it has changed.

‘I had hoped something would have been learned from the Savile debacle.

‘The important thing now is that we find out who knew about Stuart Hall and when they knew it. Was his behaviour reported internally and if so what action was taken? What exactly went wrong?’

As more revelations came to light, an extraordinary photograph emerged showing disgraced Hall posing with his friend Owen Oyston, the businessman jailed a decade ago for raping a 16-year-old model.

Coronation Street actor Bill Roache is also in the picture, taken at a corporate event, along with some women.

The three men were all company directors of some of Oyston’s business ventures in the North West, although he has now dropped Hall as a director, saying he is ‘unfit’ for the post.

Mr Roache was charged last week with twice raping a 15-year-old girl, an accusation he strenuously denies.

The investigation into Mr Roache is unconnected to the Hall case.

The BBC denied performing a U-turn.

Presenter: Stuart Hall pictured in 1968. Detectives believe that other BBC staff may have helped Hall trick girls into visiting himPresenter: Stuart Hall, pictured in 1968, has pleaded guilty to assaulting 13 girls between 1967 and 1986

A spokesman said: ‘It is not a U-turn or bowing to pressure, it is a slight realignment of the Dame Janet Smith Review.

‘Dame Janet has declared a conflict of interest because her husband’s first wife is married to one of the people who knew Stuart Hall.

‘So someone else will examine the Stuart Hall case and feed the findings into Dame Janet’s overall review. It is not a separate inquiry.’

Another BBC spokesman stressed: ‘This is not a U-turn. It is not a separate inquiry. It is just an extension of the Dame Janet Smith inquiry.

‘I know it sounds like we are dancing on the head of a pin, but it is a freestanding inquiry that will be fed into the Dame Janet Smith Review.’

 

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