الإثنين , مايو 17 2021

Rolf Harris due to be sentenced

Rolf HarrisRolf Harris was a popular entertainer in both the UK and Australia

Rolf Harris is due to be sentenced for indecently assaulting four girls – including one who was seven or eight – in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

The musician and artist, 84, was found guilty of all the 12 charges he faced after an eight-week trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court.

One of the girls was a childhood friend of his daughter, whom he repeatedly assaulted from when she was 13.

The judge warned Harris a jail term was “uppermost in the court’s mind”.

The trial had heard how Harris used his “status and position” to abuse his victims and that the former television presenter had a dark side to his personality.

The central allegation concerned Harris’s daughter’s friend, whom the court heard he had groomed and molested from the age of 13 until she was 19.

He was found to have indecently assaulted her repeatedly, including once when his daughter was asleep in the same room.

Operation Yewtree

The other victims told the court they had been touched or groped by Harris, sometimes at his public appearances.

One woman said Harris touched her inappropriately when she was seven or eight while he was signing autographs in Hampshire in the late 1960s.

Harris was also convicted of groping a teenage waitress at a charity event in Cambridge in the 1970s.

An Australian woman Tonya Lee – who has waived her legal right to anonymity – said he had abused her three times on one day while she was on a theatre group trip to the UK at the age of 15.

Six women also told the court about indecent assaults Harris had carried out against them in Australia, New Zealand and Malta. He could not be prosecuted over these incidents in a British court but the evidence was introduced as an added illustration of his behaviour.

Harris, from Bray, Berkshire, was first questioned in November 2012 in Scotland Yard’s Operation Yewtree investigation set up in the wake of revelations about abuse committed by BBC presenter Jimmy Savile.

Lawyers for Harris wrote to media organisations, including the BBC, at the time warning them against naming the entertainer and threatening libel action.

When he was arrested again in March 2013 the Metropolitan Police did not name him and Harris was not identified in the mainstream media until a few weeks later.

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