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article imageMurder and alleged rape at the Preston law courts

By Alexander Baron     Feb 7, 2013 in Crime
Preston - The trial of Dale Cregan for the murder of two police officers opened at Preston Crown Court today. In the same town, the broadcaster Stuart Hall was remanded on bail by magistrates charged with rape.
Last September, Dale Cregan was charged with the murders of two women police officers in Manchester and the murder of a father and son. Today, his trial and the trial of nine others opened at Preston Crown Court. It has presumably been moved from Manchester to avoid any possible local prejudice. The defendants were brought to the court in a police convoy under heavy armed escort, which prompted the judge to warn the jury against drawing any adverse inferences on that account.
All the defendants have denied all the charges, and the trial is expected to last up to 12 weeks. The proceedings are likely to be an ordeal for the families of the two unarmed policewomen who were allegedly lured into an ambush before being shot dead.
In the same town, the broadcaster Stuart Hall was remanded on bail by magistrates charged with a series of alleged historic sex offences. As things stand, his trial will also open at Preston Crown Court, on March 1, by which time the Cregan trial will be well underway. After the hearing he spoke to the media saying he had been going through a living nightmare. Mr Hall, who is now 83, is facing a number of charges of indecent assault and the allegation that he raped a 22 year old woman in 1976. All these allegations as well as others against a number of other men arose as a result of the investigation into the activities of the late Jimmy Savile.
Although Mr Hall insists he will defend himself against all these allegations, it may be that he does not have to. Certainly it is likely that his barrister will make out some sort of abuse of process argument in relation to one of the allegations. While allegations concerning young children might have taken months or years to be made out, it remains to be seen why a woman of 22 should wait over 3 decades to report an allegation of rape. Whether or not it actually happened.
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