World News: Rolf Harris facing child sex charges
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‘Taunted’ Rolf Harris moved from HMP Bullingdon to Stafford jail
Rolf Harris has been reportedly moved to another prison after he was repeatedly
taunted and spat at by his fellow inmates.
Harris was spending his days in his jail cell sketching other inmates and
their families to keep them onside after anger at his apparently receiving
preferential treatment from jail authorities.
Prisoners at the HMP Bullingdon in Oxfordshire were reportedly incensed
after the 84-year-old Australian entertainer was given a job in the prison
garden ahead of those who had sought the role for sometime.
Harris, serving five years and nine months after being found guilty
of sexually assaulting four girls, had been offered money and gifts
to do sketches but decided to do them for free.
But UK reports now claim Harris has been moved to another prison.
A source told The Sun newspaper that: “They moved him for his safety”,
after other prisoners “were keen to take him down a peg or two.”
“He was moved to another prison for his own safety about two weeks ago.”
He is now reportedly sharing a jail cell at Stafford jail.
The jail is Stafford is a Category C prison for adult males.
It also holds a number of vulnerable prisoners (mainly sex offenders).
Accommodation at the prison consists mainly of double-occupancy cells,
and is considered to be a softer jail.
The Prison Service will not comment on Harris and his relocation, after he
was inundated with requests from inmates who wanted him to draw them and their families.
While at HMP Bullingdon, prisoners called the sketch sessions the “Rolf Prison
Cartoon Club” after his hit 1990s TV show Rolf’s Cartoon Club.
The sessions were done between 4.30pm and 6.30pm when prisoners
in the jail’s E Wing were allowed to move between cells.
“Harris has been overwhelmed by requests,” one prisoner told The Sun newspaper earlier this year.
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UK Attorney-General Jeremy Wright will not review Rolf Harris sentence despite receiving 150 complaints
Convicted paedophile Rolf Harris will not see his jail term challenged by the British government’s
chief legal adviser for being too lenient.
Attorney-General Jeremy Wright will not refer the disgraced Australian entertainer’s sentence
of five years and nine months to the Court of Appeal, a spokeswoman in his office said.
Mr Wright’s decision comes despite his office receiving 150 complaints about the leniency
of Harris’s sentence, of which he will serve half, although it only takes one complaint to
trigger the review process.
Harris, 84, a family favourite for decades, was finally unmasked as a prolific paedophile
following his conviction for 12 indecent assaults at the end of last month.
A spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office said: “The Attorney General understands
that his decision not to refer the case may be a disappointment to some people; however,
he did give extremely careful consideration to this sentence and he concluded that he could not refer it.”
She added: “After very careful consideration, the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC
MP, has decided not to refer the five year and nine month sentence given to Rolf Harris
to the Court of Appeal, as he did not think they would find it to be unduly lenient and increase it.
“The sentencing judge was bound by the maximum sentence in force at the time of the offending.
“The judge made some of the sentences consecutive to reach the total sentence,
but he could not simply add up sentences on individual counts; the overall
sentence had to be just and proportionate to the overall offending.
“The judge was also required to take into account the age of the offender.”
City of Perth council vote to dig up Rolf Harris plaque after entertainer’s conviction for indecent assault
Perth has removed Rolf Harris’s most visible honour from its main CBD street in the
latest move to purge any memory of the convicted pedophile from his home turf.
The City of Perth council voted unanimously last night to remove the 1959 commemorative
plaque on St Georges Terrace dedicated to the disgraced entertainer, 84, who is serving a
three-year jail sentence in Wandsworth prison in southwest London for historic child sex offences.
Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi says the plaque was removed early this morning to avoid
inconveniencing pedestrians during peak times.
The spot outside the BankWest building where it used to lie has been neatly covered with pavers.
The City of Perth says the plaque has been put into storage.
The town of Bassendean, where Harris was born, recently voted to dig up a
footpath plaque outside his childhood home but it was stolen on the night of
the vote after a vandal sprayed it over with the word “pedo”.
The council also stripped him of his freemanship and removed paintings and a portrait from council chambers.
Harris has also lost his place in the Australian Recording Industry Association
Hall of Fame and his British Academy of Film and Television Arts Fellowship.
He could also lose his Commander of the Order of the British Empire and his Order of Australia.
Harris’s former school Perth Modern has removed several of his artworks from the walls.
Perth’s Edith Cowan University will discuss at its next council meeting in August whether
to rescind an honorary doctorate awarded to Harris in 2000, but has already removed his artworks from display.
Rolf Harris hid child porn stash under floorboards of London home, says plumber
A plumber reportedly found a stash of child pornography videos under the
floorboards of Rolf Harris’s home in south-east London in the 1970s,
but only reported the find to police in 2012.
The plumber has spoken out for the first time to reveal he
was fixing the pipes in Harris’s home in Sydenham when he allegedly came across the videos.
The house was the Harris family home for many years. It is also where Rolf Harris subjected
the childhood friend of his daughter Bindi to horrific abuse, which began when the victim was aged 13.
According to The Mirror newspaper, the plumber told police he panicked when he found the
stash under the floorboards so he put them back.
It was only when entertainer Jimmy Savile was exposed as one of Britain’s worst
paedophiles in 2012 that the plumber reported his find to police.
Officers went to Harris’s former Sydenham home and looked under the floorboards but could
not find the pornographic videos.
The search occurred before Harris’s arrest but it put him on the radar of detectives from Operation Yewtree.
Harris was arrested in November 2012 after the first victim came forward and a raid on his home in Berkshire
found a computer hard drive with numerous downloaded indecent images of children.
He had been facing four charges over the computer images but the case was dropped after
he was convicted and jailed last week for 12 counts of indecent assault.
Meanwhile, convicted British fraudster peer Lord Charlie Brocket who started a five year
stretch at Wandsworth prison in 1996, for insurance fraud, said Harris would be shocked by his jail experience.
“When he arrives in prison, that’s when he really will realise his world has
collapsed and changed completely,” he told British media.
“He will get a pretty rough reception. There will be a lot of
shouting at him, quite a lot of verbal ... and he will feel very vulnerable.”
It did the peer no harm though as he served two-and-a-half years, went on to
become a contestant on I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here, received $2 million
in TV offers, had a best-selling autobiography, hosts two TV programs and runs Brocket
Hall Foods range of groceries.
Rolf Harris faces further claims of sex abuse
Forthright British media personality Vanessa Feltz has alleged she was assaulted by disgraced
child abuser Rolf Harris while interviewing him live on UK national television in 1996.
Ms Feltz says the alleged incident occurred while Harris’ wife Alwen was in the studio nearby.
Ms Feltz said she couldn’t yell out and tell Harris to “f…k off, as was her instinct, because
she was live on air and was mindful such a revelation he was allegedly assaulting her would
impact on any children watching the show as well as his wife.
Feltz, now 52, said Harris wiggled his fingers under her bottom, beneath her dress and grasped
at the elastic of her knickers while there were two television cameras trained on her and Harris
during the interview for “The Big Breakfast’’, a segment filmed fully clothed on a queen sized bed.
Harris sentence condemned as too short
Ms Feltz wrote in the Sunday Express: ‘’He was carrying on talking as though nothing was going on,
smiling and joking as he moved his hand further up. I was shocked. This was Rolf Harris. I could
clearly see his wife. How could this be happening? But of course, as he knew perfectly well, I
could not say anything.’’
She continued:‘’After a few seconds he had managed to get his hand inside the elastic of my knickers
and I was absolutely staggered.
‘’I have not a shadow of a doubt that he knew exactly what he was doing and he was getting excited about it.
‘’Before he could actually assault me intimately I had no alternative but to cut to an advert break.
The second we went to the break I jumped away from him and got his hand out from under my dress. ‘’
Ms Feltz said Harris didn’t react in any way at all and he carried on as if nothing had happened.
‘’He was smiling and joking, I was both disgusted and furious with him,’’ he said.
‘’I realized he was prepared to take enormous risks to assault his victims. In fact that was
part of the thrill of it, that is part of who he is.’’
All of the four complainants and most of the bad character witnesses had told how Harris would
continue on as if nothing had happened afeer he had assaulted them. Justice Nigel Sweeney said
in sentencing Harris to five years and nine months, half of which he will have to spend in
jail: ‘’you clearly got a thrill whilst others were present or nearby’’.
Ms Feltz said she has waived her right to anonymity to encourage other alleged victims to come
forward and was not paid for the interview.
Ms Feltz’s alleged account comes as more than a dozen women have come forward to Scotland
Yard claiming Harris, 84, have assaulted them. UK charities have also said there was a 100
percent increase in calls reporting alleged child abuse on Friday when Harris was
sentenced. The Attorney General is reviewing the sentence after receiving complaints
it was ‘unduly lenient’. He could refer the case to the Court of Appeal within 28 days.
Harris has spent the weekend at the austere Wandsworth prison in south-west London and is
being assessed for re-settlement to a low security prison in the countryside.
Ms Feltz wrote about the audacious alleged assault in a newspaper column in October 2012,
just a month before Harris was first questioned by police, but was unable to name him at the time.
Feltz who now has a radio show on BBC, had gone to Scotland Yard to report Harris’ abuse
but her evidence was not put to the jury in Harris’ trial because it emerged too late for the prosecution.
Brazen Rolf Harris wanted to star in WA child protection video in 1980s
A brazen Rolf Harris had the audacity to meet with WA’s top authorities – including police and the education
department – in an attempt to front a local safety campaign about child sexual abuse in the 1980s.
In 1986, Harris offered to create an educational video for schools telling kids how to deal with sex predators.
The now disgraced singer wanted to produce and act in the video, one year after he made a 20-minute film called
Kids Can Say No for a UK child protection charity.
In the British video, which re-emerged this week, Harris sings with a group of children: “My body’s nobody’s body
but mine. You run your own body. Let me run mine.”
Chillingly, the last of the 12 counts of indecent assault against girls of which Harris was convicted happened
just weeks after he held talks with officials in Perth.
Criminologist Carol Ronken told The Sunday Times “extremely manipulative” child sex offenders didn’t just groom
their victims, but entire organisations and communities.
Ms Ronken said by placing themselves in positions of trust, abusers could silence their victims, gain access to
kids and appease feelings of guilt.
While Harris was visiting Perth in April 1986, a meeting was convened by Des Semple, who was director-general of
the State’s Community Services Department at the time.
Harris, then aged 56, met WA Police as well as state government officials from the education, health and
community services departments at Mr Semple’s Mount Hawthorn office.
Mr Semple, who now lives in Sydney, said Harris did not want a fee for the video.
Despite Harris’s fame thanks to a string of hits and decades on TV, Mr Semple turned him down and developed
a broader campaign.
“The campaign did not involve Mr Harris and whatever his motives, it is fortunate that we declined his
offer,” he told The Sunday Times.
“Clearly there were some advantages in using a person with a high public profile ... for such a campaign.
“Short-term political opportunism rarely produces good public policy. We were fortunate to have a minister
at that time who understood that principle and supported the more comprehensive campaign we recommended.”
Keith Wilson, minister for youth services in the Burke government at the time, said: “It’s very lucky it didn’t happen.”
The meeting was reported in media on April 26.
Just five weeks later, a 14-year-old Australian schoolgirl, Tonya Lee, was abused by Harris three
times in one day while on a theatre trip in the UK.
Ms Ronken, head of research at child protection charity Bravehearts, said it was “very concerning” if
Harris sought to be involved in child protection at the time he was committing the abuse.
“Offenders who are in positions of power or trust often create an ever greater barrier to the silence,
shame and secrecy around the offence,” she said.
“Whether or not a victim is told explicitly that no one would believe them because of who the offender
is, children and young people often come to this conclusion themselves.
“Thankfully, cases like Rolf Harris, and other celebrities and individuals in such positions, give
offenders a clear message that no matter who they are, they can be caught and hopefully empower victims
with the message that there are people who will believe them.”
SAD OR BAD, IT'S ALL IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
He’s the “Boy from Bassendean”, but residents of Rolf Harris’s home town are split over how its
once-cherished son should be remembered.
“Shocked” was the word most used when describing their reaction to the downfall of the entertainer,
who many had met or seen perform.
In coming days four of his paintings will be removed from the council chamber
and put in storage “indefinitely”.
At a community centre on Old Perth Road, two of his pictures were quietly taken down months ago.
“I didn’t believe it, not the boy from Bassendean. It’s so sad,” said an 86-year-old volunteer at the centre.
In 1989, council consultants suggested a “Jake the Peg” statue for Old Perth Road.
After this week’s conviction, the word “PEDO” was sprayed on a plaque laid by Harris near his
childhood home on Bassendean Parade. On Thursday night, the plaque was stolen before the council
had a chance to rip it up themselves.
A neighbour, who didn’t want to be named, has a picture of her and Harris taken on one of his
visits home to see his parents, Crom and Margaret.
“Men were very flirty in those days. He would put his arm on people and he was friendly, maybe a
little too friendly,” she said.
Bassendean Mayor John Gangell said the council’s tough stance on stripping Harris of all honours,
including his Freeman of the Town status, put the victims first.
“I met him once. He is a personable and likable person and that’s what a lot of people are going to
remember him for,” Mr Gangell said. “But what they need to remember is that these are heinous crimes
he has been convicted of, crimes that nobody would want to have happen to their own children,
their grandchildren, their nieces, their nephews.”
Local engineer Shane Rock, 44, was against the removal of artwork.
“By keeping it up you’re still reminding people of the issue, so it’s not entirely a negative thing,” he said.
“Whether you see a dirty bugger or you see a work of art is up to you. ”
Peter Law/ Annabel Hennessy
Rolf Harris sentenced to more than five years' jail for indecent assault at London's Southwark Crown Court
Disgraced Australian entertainer Rolf Harris is spending his first night in prison after being sentenced to
five years and nine months in jail for indecently assaulting four girls in the UK between 1968 and 1986.
The sentence was handed down yesterday by Justice Nigel Sweeney at London's Southwark Crown Court, where
Harris was found guilty on 12 charges of indecent assault earlier this week.
The 84-year-old will not spend the entire sentence behind bars, with Justice Sweeney announcing
half the sentence will be non-custodial.
"You have shown no remorse for your crimes at all," Justice Sweeney told Harris as he handed down the sentence.
"Your reputation lies in ruins, you have been stripped of your honours, but you have no-one to blame but yourself."
Harris, wearing a grey suit, white shirt and multicoloured tie, sat motionless as he heard the sentence
that could see him die in prison.
"Take him down," Justice Sweeney told court officials before Harris was led from the
court along with a small suitcase.
Justice Sweeney said victims showed considerable courage in coming forward.
Harris's legal team have 25 days to lodge an appeal against the convictions on his behalf.
Before the sentencing, the convicted paedophile travelled to the court by boat along the River
Thames from his home in Bray, Berkshire, reportedly to avoid media who had gathered outside his house.
Harris had been warned by the judge on Tuesday that he would face a custodial sentence.
Earlier in the week jurors unanimously delivered a guilty verdict on all counts of indecent
assault, after a trial that lasted more than six weeks.
Each count carried a maximum penalty of two years in jail.
In victim impact statements tendered to the court today, one victim said Harris's actions
had made her feel "dirty, grubby and disgusting".
But the defence said there was no evidence Harris had offended in recent years, saying at
84 he was "living on borrowed time" and his prime concern was for his wife's health.
Since the trial began, and even since the verdicts were handed down, more women have come
forward saying they were also assaulted by Harris. Police have confirmed they are looking into fresh allegations.
'They're all making it up', Harris claimed during trial
In addition to the four complainants in the trial, another six women gave supporting
evidence that the artist and entertainer had abused them in Australia, New Zealand and Malta between 1969 and 1991.
Harris denied inappropriately touching any of the alleged victims and pleaded not guilty in court.
"They are all making it up," he told the jury in late May.
During the case, prosecutor Sasha Wass QC said none of Harris's accusers knew each other but their
accounts bore "striking similarities".
She described Harris as a "sinister pervert" who used his fame to mesmerise his victims, treating
"underage girls as sexual objects" to be "groped and mauled".
The main accuser was a woman, now 49, who met Harris as a childhood friend of his daughter Bindi.
Harris admitted he had a 10-year affair with the accuser but said it did not start until she
was 18 and the relationship was consensual.
However, she told the court during the trial that the entertainer began indecently assaulting
her at age 13, when she joined the Harris family on an overseas holiday in 1978.
The woman told the court she was taking a shower at their Hawaii hotel and was wrapped only
in a towel when Harris gave her "one of his big hugs and tickles".
She said the performer then put his fingers into her crotch area.
The woman said she felt "numb" and disgusted after the abuse happened.
When she was 15, she said Harris sexually assaulted her in her bedroom, before laughing
and joking with her parents downstairs.
The woman said she was too scared and intimidated by Harris's fame to tell anyone.
After years of sexual abuse the victim was "emotionally dead", the prosecutor said at the trial.
His daughter Bindi told the trial she was with her friend "every single moment of every
single day" on the holiday and had not noticed any change in her behaviour.
However, during the trial Bindi wept as she described the moment she later discovered her
father's sexual relationship with her friend.
New Zealand MP claims Harris groped her
Earlier on Friday a New Zealand MP said Harris assaulted her in the 1980s.
Maggie Barry, a former high-profile broadcaster and now member of the National Party-led
government, said she was in her 20s and working in a regional radio station when Harris groped her.
"He suddenly started with the wandering hands and groping and when he put his hand on my
leg, I said 'You can stop that right now'," she said.
"I stood up and said 'You're a sleazy creep', at which point he got a bit nasty," she said.
She said Harris was "pretty confident and arrogant" throughout the "chilling experience".
Rolf Harris remained arrogant and egotistical even as paedophile entertainer faced his final curtain
Vicky Smith was in Court No.2 at Southwark Crown Court to see the paedophile entertainer remain unable to accept the destructive impact of his crimes
As the judge outlined his disgusting crimes and the shocking impact they had on his traumatised young victims, Rolf Harris sat unmoved.
The arrogant star remained in control to the very end as he was led away by two court security guards, one with his bright striped suitcase in tow.
He showed hardly a flicker of emotion, standing still in the dock of court room number two at Southwark as he learned he will spend just under three years in prison.
Harris’s only movement was a narrowing of the eyes when Mr Justice Sweeney described the children’s entertainer’s horrifying abuse of his daughter’s childhood friend.
Even after a jury of six men and six women had reached unanimous decisions, Harris was unable to accept the destructive impact of his crimes.
The entertainer’s emotional indifference to his own child sex abuse trial has been apparent throughout the proceedings and a world away from his TV persona.
As he listened intently through a hearing loop to the trial evidence over the last two months, there were no smiles, frowns or signs of discomfort as woman after woman stood in the witness stand and broke down as they described their ordeals.
He passed frequent notes to his legal team during the prosecution witnesses’ evidence in the early weeks of the trial.
During this time, he was even caught sketching in the dock. The drawings were removed and destroyed. Their content has not been revealed.
The only time Harris became animated during the trial was when he described his pride and joy - his glitzy career.
His singing and brief didgeridoo lesson for the court, complete with big hand gestures and sound effects, were not enough to save him from the truth.
His family too kept their cool, although the tears began to flow as soon as they stepped into the court waiting room following yesterday’s sentencing hearing.
His daughter Bindi seemed particularly distraught at the demise of her famous father.
Today Harris will wake up behind bars as a convicted paedophile.
Perhaps it will only be then that he finally realises his days of avoiding the truth are over.
Town of Bassendean councillors vote to remove Rolf Harris’ paintings, plaque and his status as a town freeman at closed meeting
The Town of Bassendean has voted to remove all traces of its links with disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris,
known around the world as the “Boy from Bassendean”.
Councillors voted behind closed doors to remove Harris’ artworks from council chambers and put them
in storage, strip his status as a freeman of the town and pull up a plaque outside his childhood home.
Harris, 84, faces jail when he is sentenced tomorrow after a UK jury found him guilty of indecently
assaulting four girls between 1968 and 1986.
As well as Bassendean, the City of Perth and other WA institutions are planning to, or have
already moved to remove honours and monuments bestowed on Harris.
A photo portrait of Harris was removed from Bassendean’s council chambers in May.
After the meeting, Bassendean Mayor John Gangell said artwork and bicentennial plaque would be placed it into storage “indefinitely”.
He said the items were not being destroyed as there was still the potential for an appeal against the conviction.
“It has been a hard week, a tough week for the Town of Bassendean,” Mr Gangell said.
“We ultimately decided to take a stance and draw a line in the sand. No longer is it tolerable
if you hold a privileged position or a special status to be allowed to have your artwork
displayed or talent exhibited after a conviction.
“We have decided that the victims are first foremost in this decision tonight.”
The debate and vote was held behind closed doors, lasting just over an hour.
Councillors voted unanimously to strip Harris of his Freeman status, but voted 4-2 to remove
the artwork and 5-1 to pull-up the plaque.
Art by Harris on display in the council chamber include a large painting of his parent’s home
and another of the Bassendean Homestead.
Mr Gangell said members of the community had fond memories of Harris and the decision would
be tough to accept.
“That wonderful, lovely persona that a lot of people would be remembering Mr Harris for is
not the persona that he ultimately had,” he said.
“He used that persona and used his talents and skills to actually prey on young women.”
He said the decision would be tough for some residents, but in time they would realise the
council had done the right thing.
“I met him once, he is a personable and likable person and that’s what a lot of people are
going to remember him for,” the mayor added.
“But what they need to remember is that these are heinous crimes he has been convicted of,
crimes that nobody would want to have happen to their own children, their grandchildren, their nieces, their nephews.”
Rolf Harris to be on suicide watch as he heads to Wandsworth Jail
Yesterday he went to bed a revered figure and international star but Rolf Harris awoke this morning facing the prospect of dying in jail
as a sinister pervert who used his status to depravedly abuse girls over a 40 year period.
There was stunned silence in Southwark Crown Court yesterday as in two minutes the 84-year-old’s finely crafted career 60-year
show-business career collapsed with the jury’s proclamation they had found him guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault.
Each charge carries a maximum sentence of two years and Judge Nigel Sweeney told the court Harris would have to face a custodial sentence.
He asked defence barrister Sonia Woodley QC if her client understood that to which she replied that he did.
“In reality given the conviction on all 12 counts it is inevitable that the type of sentence that is uppermost
in the court’s mind is a custodial sentence and he must understand that,” Judge Sweeney said.
It is not likely Harris will serve the maximum available sentence of 24 years due to his age and a
range of health complaints including having had a minor stroke, two stents in arteries, bad legs, diabetes and suffering vertigo.
The judge asked Ms Woodley to prepare an updated medical statement ahead of a sentence being imposed on Friday. Legal observers
expect his sentence to be similar to that of celebrity publicist Max Clifford, 71, who last month was sentenced to eight years
with a non-parole of four years for eight counts of indecent assault.
Clifford was arrested by the same Operation Yewtree that probed Harris, glam rocker Gary Glitter and TV personality
Jimmy Savile who has since been declared the most prolific sex offender in history with up to 500 victims.
On Friday Harris is expected to be firstly taken to Wandsworth Jail in south west London, the same jail that
Australian actor and Hey Dad star Robert Hughes was taken to when he was arrested in London of child sex charges ahead of his extradition.
Harris is then expected to be taken to Her Majesty’s Prison Littlehey in Cambridgeshire which is a
“Category C” minimum security prison for those who cannot be trusted in an open prison but whom are unlikely to escape.
There he will have a private unit; it is where Clifford is currently residing.
Also there is 77-year-old career criminal Harry Roberts who has been in jail since 1966 for executing three police officers.
Harris will also be on suicide watch for a period. He had been suffering depression following his arrest in 2012 and his
lawyers are likely to argue for a reduced sentence due to the severe stress of losing all since his convictions.
It is not clear whether Harris will have to forfeit some of his $19.9 million fortune his trial heard he had amassed during his successful 60-year career.
He owns a large house on the River Thames at the village of Bray west of London where he normally lives with wife Alwen
and has owned since the 1980s. During his trial he had been staying at a central London apartment he is also believed to own.
He has also bought his daughter Bindi investment properties.
After he bizarrely sang Jake the Peg in court during his trial, prosecutor Sasha Wass QC said these were criminal charges from which he couldn’t escape.
“You can’t buy your way out of a criminal charge, you can’t bully your way out of a
criminal charge, and you certainly can’t sing your way out of a criminal charge.”
Rolf Harris called a sinister deviant as prosecution urges jury not to be blinded by his fame
A letter Rolf Harris wrote to the father of one of his victims was not an apology but a
“confession” for grotesquely grooming the girl to act like his prostitute or blow-up doll, a court has heard.
In her closing argument in the trial of the 84-year-old entertainer, Prosecutor Sasha Wass QC accused
the star of being many things but themed about a sinister deviant who used his popularity to manipulate his victims.
Ms Wass spent the day graphically recounting the stories of 10 women, including a mother and
daughter, all of whom have accused Harris of sexually assaulting them over more than 20 years.
Four women form the basis on the indictments with the other six acting as bad character witnesses,
their sexual assault claims being outside the legal jurisdiction.
But it wasn’t until she reached one victim — who was allegedly repeatedly
indecently assaulted as a 13-year-old schoolgirl in 1979 — that the prosecutor draw
gasps of shock and horror from Harris’ family and supporters in the public gallery.
Harris had already admitted he was sexually attracted to the shy 13-year-old as she
swam at a beach in Hawaii in a skin-colour bikini in that year and getting her to
perform oral sex on him five years later when she turned 18.
But for the first time Ms Wass detailed what she said was Harris allegedly
grooming the girl, manipulating her mind to act as his private prostitute
or blow-up doll to instantly react to his entering a room and perform a sex act on him.
That conditioning, she claimed, began the moment Harris and the girl, a friend of his
daughter Bindi, returned from a holiday in Australia in January the following year.
Harris has admitted the acts, including oral sex in a laneway and beside a busy freeway
in the breakdown zone as well as her masturbating him while he sat next to his daughter Bindi
on a couch watching TV with a blanket over their laps. But he said that all happened after she
crossed the age of consent and not when she was a schoolgirl.
But Ms Wass said what he did in those five years was written in a
damning confessional letter he wrote almost 20 years later in 1997.
She said not only did Harris admit being “sickened” by his own actions but
in asking for forgiveness wrote: “And as I do these animal programs, I see
the unconditional love that dogs give to their owners and I wish I could start to love myself again.”
“He’s accidentally exposing his true approach on a relationship with (victim) and looking for
unconditional love an owner may give a trained dog,” Ms Wass said.
“What other possible reason could Mr Harris be mentioning devotion of
animals in the same paragraph in this delicate letter to (victim’s) father?”
She suggested the jury would no doubt find that link quite grotesque.
She said Harris had written in the letter and later told police the relationship
with the woman when she was 18 stemmed from “a feeling of love and friendship”
but Ms Wass said forget “the Mills and Boon scenario”, Harris had already admitted
in court the pair had eight sexual encounters and never once spoke to each other.
It was all done silently, no affection, no regular couples type contact, they both
just got on with “clinical gynaecological sex” with no lead up, interaction or any
hint there was a relationship or passionate affair.
“He just used her for his sexual gratification like she was a
blow-up doll,” she told the jury, adding the victim was so isolated and
vulnerable she acted “clinically” like a prostitute or to perform like a pet.
“This was not a consensual relationship,” she said.
“This was what emerged at the end of an abusive relationship which began when (she) was 13.”
The court had heard Harris wrote the letter in 1997 to apologise for the relationship he had
with the woman when she was 18 and he 53 and recognised the unwitting harm he had
caused her psychologically. Harris has denied 12 charges of indecent assault of four women.
Ms Wass concluded saying Harris had been trying to manipulate the media with his
staged slow walks in and out of court holding the hands of his family
which was nothing more than a public relations exercise.
She said the truth was Harris was a man with a dark side
“The evidence paints a picture of a man who believed he was untouchable
because he was so famous. It paints a picture of a man who was arrogant
and brazen and treated women and young girls as sexual objects to be groped and mauled as he felt like it.”
The closing arguments continue this week with the court told the jury was
likely to go out to reach a verdict from next Tuesday.
Rolf Harris trial set for April next year
Australian entertainer Rolf Harris is due to face trial in April 2014 on 13 child sex offences, a
London court has heard.
Harris, 83, was excused from attending a preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey criminal court on Monday morning.
The artist and singer is now likely to next appear in court for a plea and case-management hearing in mid-January.
His trial is provisionally set to start on April 30.
Harris is facing six counts of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 1980 and 1981 and three charges of
indecent assault on a girl aged 14 in 1986.
He is also charged with four counts of making indecent images of a child in the first half of 2012.
The prosecution will present expert computer evidence and the defence will rely on expert witnesses in rebuttal.
For the offences committed after 1985 Harris could face up to 10 years' jail.
At his first court appearance a fortnight ago the 83-year-old indicated through his lawyer, Sonia Woodley QC,
that he would be pleading not guilty to the charges.
On Monday at the Old Bailey the judge asked Ms Woodley to confirm the case would be going to a trial.
"It is," she told the court.
A frail-looking Harris appeared in Westminster Magistrates Court two weeks ago for his first court appearance.
He spoke only briefly to confirm his personal details and was later mobbed by a large press pack as he slowly
walked from the court building with his wife Alwen and daughter Bindi.
The Australian remains on conditional bail under which he is banned from having contact with anyone under 18
unless he's accompanied by someone over the age of 21.
Rolf Harris pleads not guilty to child sex charges
A frail-looking Rolf Harris has appeared in court for the first time charged with nine counts of
indecent assault and four of making indecent images of children.
During a brief hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, the 83-year-old Australian entertainer
stood before Westminster's deputy chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot to confirm his name, address and age.
His defence then indicated he would be pleading not guilty to all charges including six counts of indecently
assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 1980 and 1981 and three charges of indecent assault on a girl aged 14 in 1986.
There were also four counts of making indecent images of a child in the first half of 2012.
His family including wife Alwen Hughes said in the front row of the public court as the prosecution Cristine
Athansius detailed how the offences committed after September 1985 carries a maximum of 10 years and those before,
a maximum of two years. Wearing a dark suit and patterned tie, he struggled to stand when asked to be formally
read the charges against him. The hearing lasted less than 10 minutes.
Just as the prosecution was detailing the seriousness of the alleged offences meant they could not be
heard in a magistrates court, the lights in the large room dramatically all went out leaving the room in darkness.
Ms Arbuthnot sent the matter to the Crown Court for hearing on October 7. She detailed his conditional bail including
not to approach 10 names she read out at court, but are legally suppressed, and not to be near anybody under the age
of 18 without supervision.
Outside court, more than 100 media personnel crammed outside hastily erected crowd control barriers for
Harris' entrance with his wife who walked with the aid of a stick.
Police were also on hand to keep a cordon including members of the public one of whom held a
sign "Rolf Is Innocent OK!". Another yelled out repeatedly "Rolf stay strong, stay strong Rolf"
as he gingerly walked to and from a waiting car.
Inside it was also tight security with a limited number of seats reserved for media.
Mr Harris has lived as a virtual recluse for several months since he was first spoken to by police
last November and had his house in Bray on Thames, just outside of London, searched and his computer
and other material seized.
He did perform two public concerts at one of which he thanked the public for their support
he said was badly needed at that time.
Mr Harris was first arrested in late March 2013, following his first speaking to police
in November, by officers from Operation Yewtree which was established following the Jimmy
Savile sex abuse scandal. Police have stated there is no link between the charges relating
to Harris and the Savile case.
At the beginning of August he was rearrested following further allegations.
News Limited Network (24-9-2013)
Rolf Harris charged with assaulting teenage girls, making indecent images
Legendary Aussie entertainer Rolf Harris was charged last night with a string of sexual offences
against two under-age girls and another child.
London's Metropolitan Police charged Harris, 83, with six counts of indecent assault of a girl,
15, in 1980-81 and three counts of indecent assault of a girl, 14, in 1986.
Four other charges relate to making indecent images of a child between March and July last year.
Mr Harris, who moved to Britain in the 1950s, is due to face Westminster Magistrates' Court on September 23.
Mr Harris was first questioned over allegations of sexual assault in November. He was arrested in March and
again this month after further allegations.
London's chief Crown prosecutor, Alison Saunders, said last night the Crown Prosecution Service had concluded
after reviewing the evidence that it was in the public interest for Mr Harris to be charged.
A woman who answered the phone at the home of Rolf Harris's brother, Bruce, last night said: "I'm sorry, I have no comment."
Ms Saunders said: "We have carefully considered the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police
Service as part of Operation Yewtree in relation to Rolf Harris, who was initially arrested on 29
November, 2012, over allegations of sexual offences.
"Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is
in the public interest for Mr Harris to be charged with nine counts of indecent assault and four of
making indecent images of a child.
"The alleged indecent assaults date from 1980 to 1986 and relate to two complainants aged 14 and 15
at the time of the alleged offending."
Mr Harris was questioned as part of Operation Yewtree, the national police investigation sparked by
revelations that the late DJ Jimmy Savile was a paedophile.
Police say the allegations against Mr Harris were not connected to Savile.
Mr Harris was interviewed under caution on November 29, five days after a search warrant was
executed at his Berkshire home but he was publicly named as a Yewtree suspect only in April.
The charges will send shockwaves through entertainment and royal circles - the royal family
commissioned Mr Harris to perform at Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee concert.
His friends last night reacted with shock, astonishment and disbelief at the charges laid against the star.
Singer Vince Hill, who has known Mr Harris for more than 50 years, admitted he was lost for
words over the magnitude of the charges.
Mr Hill said: "I can't find words to describe my shock and disbelief.
"I'm sure that in the end this will be a storm in a teacup and everything will be all right.
This just isn't the Rolf I know," he said.
"But whatever happens to him - and everyone is innocent until proven guilty - I'll always be his friend.
He knows that. I find this incredibly unbelievable, and just hope it all comes right for him and his family in the end.
"I'm absolutely devastated and cannot believe this has happened to my dear friend of 50 years," Mr Hill said.
"I will always be there for him and if he wants me and my wife, Annie, in court to support him, so be it. But
whatever the outcome, we will never desert him."
Mr Harris, who painted a portrait of the Queen in 2005 and performed at her Diamond Jubilee concert last
year, has been a family favourite for decades.
He had his first musical hit, Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport, in 1960, and continued to enjoy success.
He also proved popular as a TV presenter, getting his first big break in 1967 when he began hosting his
own BBC1 program, The Rolf Harris Show, before moving on to children's TV in the 1980s and then to Animal
Hospital, which he hosted from 1994 to 2004.
Millions of young people grew up to the sounds of his inimitable wobble board and his sketches that only
became clear with the final strokes of his marker pen.
Mr Harris, who has lived in Bray, Berkshire, for more than 50 years, was awarded an MBE in 1968,
an OBE in 1977 and a CBE in 2006, and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia last Queen's Birthday.
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