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Letter to The Independent had key role in prompting Stuart Hall investigation

By Dominic Ponsford

An anonymous letter sent to The Independent last May apparently had a key role in prompting the investigation into Stuart Hall.

Yesterday the veteran broadcaster, and former BBC journalist, admitted 14 charges of  indecent assault.

The letter was from a woman who claimed that Hall, now 83, visited her school when she was a “young teenager” in the 1970s and later groomed her for sex.

Columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown was given the letter and decided to hand it in to her local police station at Ealing.

She writes today in today's Independent: “A few weeks later I had a call from Detective Constable Rukin of Lancashire Police. Officers wanted to come over to interview me. Hall had not been on their 'radar'  but after the letter forwarded by Ealing Police, a line of inquiry had been opened.”

Alibhai-Brown said that last Thursday she was told by DC Rukin “had they not been sent this letter, Hall would never have been investigated".

“I believe they have now interviewed the woman who wrote to me. I hope she was one of the girls Hall now accepts he did abuse.

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“She will, I hope, now at last find some peace. She should be so very proud that decades after being entrapped and abused by a manipulative man, she was able to express her anger, hurt, sense of guilt and betrayal so honestly to a stranger….

“Finally, I know we journalists are thought heartless by millions of Britons. But it is heartening that there are readers who trust us. Most of us try hard not to break the faith they have in us.”

The Daily Mail today interviewed two women who waived their right to anonymity to reveal how they were assualted by Hall when they were aged 16 and 17. One of them may be The Independent's anonymous letter-writer. Susan Melville, now 61, has described how Hall invited her to the BBC Look North studios when she was 16 after a visit to her school.

According to the Mail, 11 victims came foward to make complaints against Hall because of publicity around his arrest.

The Association of Chief Police Officers is proposing to issue new nationwide guidance that in most circumstances the names of those arrested by police is not revealed to the media.

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