Harris admits he was sexually attracted to girl (13) in bikini
Published 29/05/2014 | 02:30
Rolf Harris has admitted sexually admiring a 13-year-old bikini-clad friend of his daughter while on holiday in the 1970s.
The veteran entertainer made the admission as he was being cross-examined on his second day in the witness box at his sex assault trial at Southwark Crown Court.
The 84-year-old conceded that when he had complimented the teenager on her bikini while on holiday in Hawaii, he had actually been commenting on her body.
Mr Harris is accused of 12 counts of indecent assault on four alleged victims between 1968 and 1986, all of which he denies.
Seven of the allegations relate to the friend of his daughter, who claims he abused her from the age of 13.
Being cross-examined by Sasha Wass QC for the prosecution, Mr Harris admitted that he may have made a comment to the girl about her bikini when she was just 13 years old.
But Ms Wass said by complimenting the teenager on the bikini, what the Australian-born entertainer was actually doing was commenting sexually on her body.
The barrister asked Mr Harris: "Do you accept that when a man tells a woman or a girl that they look lovely in a bikini, they are not actually admiring the clothing, but they are admiring the person's body?"
Mr Harris responded: "Possibly."
Ms Wass went on: "What you were saying to (the alleged victim) is 'You have got a great body'."
Mr Harris replied: "I suppose so."
Ms Wass added: "When she was 13?"
Mr Harris replied: "Yes."
Ms Wass went on: "And you made it plain (to the alleged victim) on that holiday that you did admire her, admire her body?"
Mr Harris answered: "On one occasion, possibly."
Ms Wass added: "And you admired her sexually, that's what that is."
Mr Harris then responded: "It did not compute to that in my mind. . . in hindsight, I suppose it is."
Ms Wass went on: "It seems from where we are going from your answers to the questions that you admired (the alleged victim's) body sexually during that holiday."
Mr Harris replied: "It's possible, yes."
Ms Wass added: "And, of course, once we work out that you did see (the alleged victim) in a sexual light during that holiday, everything that (she) says becomes realistic, doesn't it?"
Mr Harris replied in a firm voice: "Not as far as I'm concerned, because it never happened."
Earlier in his defence evidence, Mr Harris told the court that he and the girl had a "consensual" affair which had begun when she was aged 18.
He said he was now ashamed and sickened about what he had done, but vehemently denied that he had abused the girl from the age of 13.
But Ms Wass suggested that despite his "loveable" public exterior Mr Harris had a dark side lurking.
She said: "This case is to decide whether underneath your friendly and loveable exterior there's a darker side lurking." And she added: "The issue we really have to fathom from this court is how dark that dark side really is."
Mr Harris denies 12 counts of indecent assault and the case continues. (© Daily Telegraph, London)