Hall will not give evidence

Ealing Times: Stuart Hall told police he was "surprised" by fresh claims of abuse. Stuart Hall told police he was "surprised" by fresh claims of abuse.

Paedophile broadcaster Stuart Hall will not give evidence from the witness box in defence of sex assault allegations, a jury has been told.

Hall, 84, has pleaded not guilty at Preston Crown Court 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.

Following the end of the prosecution case, Crispin Aylett QC, defending Hall, said: "I am not intending to call the defendant to give evidence."

It is said the former It's A Knockout presenter groomed his victims and plied them with alcohol before he raped them.

One of the complainants, 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.

The other alleged victim, 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.

Hall said the alleged rape at the stables did not take place, while other sexual contact was consensual.

He has admitted to indecently assaulting Girl B when she was aged 13.

Earlier, the jury heard that Hall told police he was "surprised" when confronted with fresh sexual assault allegations made by two women.

He added it was "of serious concern" that they had "waited nearly 12 months" to make their claims, which he denied.

The first complainant, Girl A, contacted a firm of solicitors on June 5 last year - a month after it entered the public domain that Hall had pleaded guilty to 14 offences involving 13 young girls.

Two days later she contacted police and went on to make a witness statement on August 7 last year.

Girl B was asked by police in December 2012 - when Hall was initially arrested in the first investigation - whether she would make a witness statement in relation to a complainant but she said she did not want to become involved.

Girl B made her first contact with the police over her own allegations on July 12 last year, the jury was told.

She gave video recorded interviews in the days that followed.

Last October, Hall was brought from prison and interviewed about the new allegations.

After he was formally cautioned, Hall's solicitor read out a statement on his behalf in which the defendant said he had accepted legal advice not to answer any questions put to him regarding the accusations.

In his statement, Hall said he had known both complainants for a number of years.

He went on: "I am surprised by the nature of their allegations and I deny them.

"I am concerned that they have been made only after I pleaded guilty to a number of offences and then was sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

"It is only now at the end of October that I am being interviewed about these allegations.

"In relation to (Girl B), (Girl B) spoke to the police in December 2012 before I was charged with the offence in relation to (victim from first court case) and at that time declined to assist the police.

"Thereafter (Girl B) offered her support to me."

He added that it should be noted that Girl A had approached a firm of personal injury solicitors before going to the police.

Hall continued: "I am now approaching my 84th birthday and my health understandably continues to deteriorate.

"It is of serious concern that these two complainants have waited nearly 12 months after I was arrested (December 2012) to make their allegation and in the light of extensive media coverage I do not think it possible to have a fair trial."

He was subsequently charged and made no comment.

Hall was jailed last year for 15 months after he admitted indecently assaulting 13 girls, aged from nine to 17.

The sentence was increased to 30 months by the Court of Appeal after the Attorney General argued it was "unduly lenient".

A psychologist, instructed by the defence, said it was possible that Girl B's memory of being raped in the stables was "confabulated" in that the event did not happen.

The jury heard that therapy or dreams could produce false memories.

Dr Ian Anderson said: "The person who has the memory has a honest belief that it is true."

He said a confabulated memory could not be disentangled from a genuine one without "external reference".

He explained that might be done with a photograph, a video recording or if a number of witnesses said an event did not occur.

Girl B told a therapist that she had a "recurring dream" about the alleged rape but said it was a memory of an incident that she knew had happened.

Dr Anderson agreed with Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, that it was also possible that the recurring dream was "a product" of the trauma of being raped at the age of 12.

Next the jury heard a statement from Jean Tetlow, a production secretary, who worked at the BBC in Manchester with Hall during the relevant period.

She said she had never known him to drink alcohol before broadcasting or other professional commitments.

She added she had never seen anything inappropriate in his dressing rooms at Piccadilly or Oxford Road.

Ms Tetlow said she did not recall seeing Girl A at the BBC studios.

She did remember being introduced to Girl B at Oxford Road but stated "there was nothing in her demeanour or attitude to indicate there was anything untoward happening with her and Stuart".

Ms Tetlow said she would have raised the matter with Hall or a senior colleague if she had.

She added she always found Hall "respectful" in her company and again would have made any concerns about him known to bosses if she had any.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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