British broadcaster Stuart Hall faces further sex charges

LONDON (AFP) - Former BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall, currently in prison serving 30 months for sexual offences, was on Wednesday charged with a further 15 rapes and one count of indecent assault against two girls.

The new charges relate to girls aged between 11 and 16 and were allegedly committed near Manchester in northwest England between 1976 and 1981.

The 83-year-old will appear at magistrates' court on November 8.

"Following a careful review, we have decided that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Stuart Hall for 16 alleged sexual offences against two girls and that it is in the public interest to do so," said Mr Nazir Afzal of the Crown Prosecution Service.

Hall was on Tuesday stripped of his Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) award - two steps below a knighthood - which he was given last year for his services to broadcasting and charity.

An independent forfeiture committee decided to remove the honour as it risks bringing the system into disrepute, in a decision signed off by the prime minister and the queen.

Hall, who presented the hit BBC television show It's A Knockout in the 1970s and 1980s and later became a well-known radio football commentator, was described by prosecutors as an "opportunistic predator".

He was jailed in June after admitting to 14 charges of indecently assaulting girls aged between nine and 17 between 1967 and 1987, when he regularly appeared on British TV.

Police began investigating Hall after a woman wrote to a newspaper columnist to complain about his OBE, saying he had abused her.

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