Infectious laugh, a love of the ridiculous, Stuart Hall, Mr It’s A Knockout, voice of 5 Live, had everyone fooled.
The public, his colleagues and friends; so many fell for this eloquent and charismatic raconteur.
He was even given an OBE, for Godsakes.
But the charm, that witty way with words, they disguised another side to his personality; a vile penchant for molesting young girls. He was jailed this week for 15 months after finally admitting 14 counts of indecent assault against girls as young as nine.
Some of them were the daughters of his friends, children with whom he had been entrusted to read bedtime stories, swim with in his pool.
His sentence is disgustingly short. It works out at just two weeks to serve for each of the girls he sexually abused. It’s a blink of an eye. An insult to the women whose lives, make no mistake those of you who have never known abuse, were indelibly marred by what he did.
Yet some are saying it was wrong to jail a man of 83.
What on earth does his age have to do with his sentence? I don’t see the “frightened and bewildered 83-year-old man” his defending barrister described in a sickening attempt at an influential sob story: I see a conniving, duplicitous sex offender who had been laughing behind his groper’s hand at the world for decades.
The offences carried out over a quarter of a century ago. During all those years when he thought he’d got away with it, he was able to build his career, enhancing his celebrity status and his wealth.
An outcry from politicians and child protection charities is being heard, though; the Attorney General has been forced to agree to review the sentence.
Let’s hope he ignores the broken old man act. Hall must take the same punishment as any other sex offender.