Serial child abuser Stuart Hall’s 15-month sentence “unduly lenient” – Islington MP Emily Thornberry

PUBLISHED: 18:08 17 June 2013 | UPDATED: 18:20 18 June 2013

Stuart Hall

Stuart Hall

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Emily Thornberry has slammed the “unduly lenient” 15-month sentence handed to child abuser Stuart Hall after the former BBC presenter admitted assaulting 13 girls – one aged just nine.

The Shadow Attorney General and MP for Islington South and Finsbury has demanded the case be sent to the Court of Appeal and the sentence extended.

In a strongly worded letter to her counterpart, Attorney General Dominic Grieve, she also accused 83-year-old Hall of “compounding the victims’ distress” by his initial reaction of innocence.

The former It’s A Knockout presenter assaulted the girls, by fondling their breasts and putting his hand up one victim’s skirt, over an 18-year period between 1967 and 1985. His oldest victim was 17.

In her letter, Ms Thornberry writes: “This sentence surely cannot be strong enough for the seriousness and circumstances of the crime.

“Sexual assault is in itself a very serious offence and there were many aggravating factors present in this case: the victims were young; there was a pattern of behaviour over a long period of time; there was an abuse of trust; and, as the trial judge has said, Hall’s initial response to the charges will have compounded the victims’ distress.

“Given all this, 15 months is not just a lenient sentence, it is unduly lenient. I urge you to use your power to refer unduly lenient sentences to the Court of Appeal and argue for it to be extended.”

The letter was also sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, in a bid for the case to be reviewed urgently.

Hall was sentenced today at Preston Crown Court.

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