FULL STORY: Guilty Harris 'groomed' daughter's former best friend

FULL STORY: Guilty Harris 'groomed' daughter's former best friend

Reporter:

Simon Meechan

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FULL STORY: Guilty Harris 'groomed' daughter's former best friend

Veteran TV star Rolf Harris has been convicted of grooming four young girls for sexual abuse today.

Harris, 84, who has lived in Bray for more than 30 years, was found guilty on all of the 12 indecent assault charges he was tried for at Southwark Crown Court.

He was convicted of assaulting four girls aged seven to 19 between 1968 and 1986.

Dressed a grey suit, white and green shirt and patterned turquoise tie, Harris looked emotionless as the verdicts rolled in.

The jury of six men and six women had spent more than 35 hours deliberating following an eight-week trial at Southwark Crown Court.

His wife Alwen Hughes and daughter Bindi Nicholls sat in silence as Harris was found guilty.

Mr Justice Sweeney warned: "In reality, given the conviction on all 12 counts it's inevitable that the type of sentence that is upper most in the court's mind is a custodial sentence and he must understand that."

Seven of the counts refer to one victim, the former best friend of his daughter, Bindi.

During the trial the court heard that Harris began grooming the girl when she was 13, after first molesting her on a family holiday to Hawaii and Australia in 1978.

Harris continued to target her when they returned to Britain, before 'psychologically dominating her into womanhood'.

She was 'dehumanised' during a 16-year campaign of abuse, which transformed her from a 'care-free child' to an 'emotionally scarred adult', and sparked her descent into depression and chronic alcoholism.

The Australian even wrote a letter to her father begging for forgiveness after the sordid details emerged in 1997.

But he protested his innocence, insisting she 'willingly' took part in a consensual relationship after 'seducing' him when she was an adult.

And Harris desperately tried to wriggle out of trouble by telling her brother: 'It takes two to tango'.

Prosecutor Sasha Wass QC described her as a 'damaged and emotionally dead creature', and added:

'He used her for his sexual gratification like she was a blow up doll.

'She had been psychologically destroyed and trained to perform like a pet.'

Harris has been released on conditional bail and is due to be sentenced on Friday.

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