Victory for Grieve: Sex offender Stuart Hall’s sentence doubled

Broadcaster Stuart Hall's sentence for repeatedly committing sex offences against young girls is to be doubled to 30 months, after an intervention from attorney-general Dominic Grieve.

The lord chief justice, Lord Judge, ruled the original sentence was "unduly lenient" after telling Hall he had been "living a lie for half his life".

Hall, the It's A Knockout presenter renowned for his reporting style on football matches, had his reputation ruined when he was convicted for 14 incidents of indecent assault.

But the 83-year-old was only sentenced to 15 months in jail by Preston's recorder, Judge Anthony Russell, and Grieve stepped in today to personally make the case for a harsher sentence at the court of appeal this morning.

Lord Judge agreed and increased the sentence to 30 months, saying Hall had misused his "power, authority and influence" and that the cases were a "significant breach of trust."

Grieve had argued the age of the victims, between nine and 17, "when coupled with the aggravating features… failed adequately to reflect the gravity of the totality of the offences, and the public concern about offences of this nature".

He added: "Even if the individual sentences for each count are appropriate sentences given the statutory maximum available, some of the sentences should have been made to run consecutively, so that the total sentence passed reflected the culpability of the offender, the harm caused and to deter others."

The BBC man's lawyer had argued his age, guilty plea and the 27-year gap since the last of the offences took place meant the original sentence was a fair one.

Hall heard the judgement via a video link from HMP Preston, hunching forward and becoming barely visible as the court heard how he asked a ten-year-old girl to "cuddle him like she would one of her teddies".

"I couldn't believe what I was hearing," one of Hall's victims, who was 24 years old at the time, told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"It became perfectly obvious through the words he was using his motives were of a sexual nature.

"I just did what anyone would do – I was embarrassed but I told him he was being rather silly."

Hall's case is unusually high-profile but is not a one-off. Around 100 unduly lenient sentences are challenged by the attorney-general each year.