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Rolf Harris trial: 84-year-old jailed for five years and nine months for committing sexual offences

Rolf Harris was today jailed for five years and nine months for a string of sex attacks on young girls.

In court wearing a hearing loop and flanked by two security guards, the shamed TV personality stared straight ahead as the sentence was passed, showing no emotion.

Mr Justice Sweeney said :”You have shown no remorse for yours crimes at all.

“Your reputation now lies in ruins, you have been stripped of your honours and you have no-one to blame but yourself.”


The judge said Harris took advantage of his celebrity status to assault three of his victims and the offences were a breach of trust. he said Harris clearly had a thrill from committing offences while other people wee present or nearby.

Harris will be released after serving half of his sentence and must sign the sex offenders’ register.

The judge said: “In every case the age gap between you and the victim was a very considerable one. You clearly got a thrill from committing the offences while others were present or nearby. Whilst others did not realise what you were doing their presence added to the ordeal of your victims.”

Harris, 84, dressed in a suit and multi-coloured tie, had earlier left his multi-million pound riverside home in Bray, Berkshire in a river launch, before arriving at Southwark crown court.

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His daughter Bindi was in court for the sentencing accompanied by friends and relatives but Harris’s wife Alwen did not attend. Harris brought two bags with him to the court expecting a jail sentence.

The musician and TV artist was found guilty of 12 counts at the court on Monday in unanimous verdicts.

Harris was convicted of  assaults between on four girls, one of them aged seven or eight at the time. Another victim was the best friend of his daughter Bindi.

An Australian woman Tonya Lee – who waived her 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.


The court also how one woman was groped when she was just seven or eight as she asked for his autograph, another two fell prey as teenagers and there was a catalogue of abuse against his daughter’s best friend.

Six other women told of how they were groped while abroad, one said the artist forced his tongue in her mouth when she was 11 or 12.

Today, for the first time it can be revealed that Harris faced the possibility of a second trial on child porn charges.

The court heard that the images were found on his computer when police searched his home in Bray in 2012.

Harris logged onto porn sites then tried to cover it up. His browsing history showed he had been logging on to various illicit websites.

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He was charged with four counts of making indecent images of a child between March and July 2012.


Prosecutor Sasha Wass QC said today that in the light of the convictions the Crown Prosecution Service had decided it would not be in the public interest to go ahead with the case.

Sonia Woodley QC, defending, said all the offences with the exception of one were “brief and opportunistic rather than predatory.”

In her mitigation she said Harris had not committed any further sex offences since 1994 and for the last 20 years had led an “upright life.”

She said it would be unfair to forget the good side to Harris, saying he had devoted much of his career to charity work.

Ms Woodley said Harris was in ill health and and the main carer for his wife Alwen. She said  : “For a man of 84 he is already on borrowed time, every day and month in prison will shorten his life.”

Today the court heard extracts from statements submitted by the four women Harris is convicted of abusing.

The former friend of his daughter Bindi said: “The attacks that happened have made me feel dirty, grubby and disgusting.

“The whole sordid saga has traumatised me.”

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She said the effects of the abuse had been the cause of a drinking habit and she said : “As a young girl I had aspirations to have a career, settle down and have a family,” she said.

“However, as a direct result of his actions, this has never materialised.

“The knowledge of what he had done to me haunted me. However, his popularity with the British public made it harder for me to deal with.”

She added:  “Rolf Harris had a hold over me that made me feel a quivering wreck”, adding: “He made me feel like a sexual object, he used and abused me to such a degree that it made me feel worthless.”

Another victim who was indecently assaulted by Harris as she went to get his autograph at a community centre as a young girl, said the moment was her first taste of independence, but in those few moments her “childhood innocence was gone”.

She said she became an angry and confused child, unable to express herself and unable to trust men.

She added: “When Jimmy Savile was exposed I had the courage to tell people I felt I would be believed.

A fourth said Harris treated her like a toy.

Police are now looking into dozens more claims from alleged victims in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

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Since his conviction, Harris, who has been stripped of his Bafta fellowship and faces losing his CBE, has also lost an honorary degree from the University of East London.

The prosecution submitted a request for costs the sum of which was not disclosed.

Questions have been raised over the future of his artwork, which includes a portrait of the Queen, and authorities in his native Western Australia are planning to remove tributes.

Some gallery owners said they plan to destroy his work.

Much of Harris’s multi-million pound fortune is expected to be spent on legal costs as well as compensation claims.

Source: London Evening Standard


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