CHARLES GRAHAM - Denials just prolongue victim’s anguish

STUART Hall not only succeeded in traumatising numerous young victims. He also succeeded in blackening many a Britons’ happy memories.

And after what happened in the wake of the repellent Jimmy Savile’s death one wonders how much more of our more pleasant recollections of yesteryear’s entertainment will be wrecked in the coming months as past crimes finally catch up with our celebrities.

Naming no names, because proceedings are active, but I have to say that some of those who have been implicated for historic sexual offences seem highly unlikely criminals. Others perhaps less so.

But what am I as a judge of character? I thought it improbable that former It’s a Knockout and North West Tonight presenter Hall was a paedophile until he confessed to molesting children as young as nine.

What annoys me most about folk like him though are the flat denials previously made about the allegations against them.

Only a few weeks ago Hall was standing outside Preston Crown Court trying to get us to feel sorry for him by saying he had come close to suicide. That’s as may be, guilty or not. But then he proceeded to accuse his accusers of peddling “pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious” claims against him.

It was like Chris Huhne all over again. Public figure tells the world he is wholly innocent of all these scurrilous crimes and that he is going to “strenuously” (there’s a word of the moment) deny them.

Then, the moment he stands in front of a judge and perjury looms, he fesses up.

Hall spared his victims the torment of testifying at a trial, but he did drag out their agonies weeks longer than he needed.

Whether this was because of legal advice or not, I neither know nor care. He was guilty and, with claims coming from multiple victims, he should have admitted it as soon as possible.

As far as the larger picture of these historic sex crimes is concerned, a further worry is that amid some of those family names standing accused are some wholly innocent men who are in danger of being dragged down with the sordid rest.

And some may be too old to live long enough to clear their names.