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

Stuart Hall

Stuart Hall - Credit: 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.

Emily Thornberry

Emily Thornberry - Credit: Archant

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.”

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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.