11:00AM, Thursday 03 July 2014
Rolf Harris is due to be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court tomorrow, as fresh allegations against the veteran entertainer continue to emerge.
On Monday Harris – who had denied all the charges – was found guilty of indecently assaulting four girls, all aged between seven and 19, between 1968 and 1986.
Seven of the 12 charges related to the former best friend of Harris’s daughter, Bindi Nicholls.
Harris, who the court had been told was known as ‘The Octopus’ in Australian TV circles for his wandering hands, began grooming the young girl when she was just 13 on a family holiday to Hawaii and Australia in 1978.
He continued abusing her for more than 16 years, which sent the victim into depression and an alcoholism.
Prosecutor Sasha Wass QC called Harris ‘a sinister pervert’ who used the girl ‘like she was a blow-up doll,’ turning her into a ‘damaged and emotionally dead creature’.
In 1997 Harris, who has worked in show business for more than 60 years, even wrote a letter to the girl’s father begging for forgiveness, but in which he still protested his innocence.
He wrote he did not touch the girl until she was an adult, and what happened ‘had progressed from a feeling of love and friendship’.
His other victims include a seven-year-old autograph hunter, who he assaulted on stage after performing ‘Two Little Boys’ in 1969.
He also groped a young waitress during the filming of ITV’s Star Games in Cambridge in 1978 and a 15-year-old Australian actress in a London pub in 1986.
During his eight-week trial the Southwark Crown Court jury heard evidence from six further women.
One said she was 11 when Harris told her he wanted to give her a ‘tongue kiss’, while the court was told he also molested a mother and daughter at an art presentation, claims which Harris denied.
The jury of six men and six women took 35 hours to find Harris guilty on all charges.
Judge Mr Justice Sweeney told Harris it is ‘inevitable’ that a prison sentence ‘is upper most in the court’s mind’.
Speaking outside the court on Monday, DCI Michael Orchard who led the inquiry, said: “Rolf Harris has habitually denied any wrongdoing, forcing his victims to recount their ordeal in public.
“He committed many offences in plain sight of people as he thought his celebrity status placed him above the law.
“I want to thank the women who came forward for their bravery. I hope today’s guilty verdict will give them closure and help them to begin to move on with their lives.
“Today’s case and verdict once again shows that we will always listen to, and investigate allegations regardless of the timeframe or those involved.”
Following Monday’s guilty verdicts there could now be further charges against Harris.
The Metropolitan Police said: “We have received a number of new allegations and these are now being considered.”
Richard Scorer, abuse lawyer for Slater & Gordon who represent 176 Jimmy Savile victims, said: “We have had up to a dozen people contact us with allegations about Rolf Harris and we are considering those carefully.”
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