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Wednesday 30 July 2014

Rolf Harris charged with string of child sex offences

Published 29/08/2013|11:57

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Rolf Harris
Rolf Harris

The television presenter and entertainer Rolf Harris was today charged with indecently assaulting two teenage girls and making indecent images of a child.

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The 83-year-old will appear in court next month facing nine counts of indecent assault dating back to the 1980s and four of making indecent images from last year, police and prosecutors said.

 

Mr Harris, of Maidenhead, Berkshire, was first arrested in November last year by detectives on the Jimmy Savile child abuse inquiry, Operation Yewtree, but his identity was not publicly revealed for months.

 

Police do not reveal names of people it arrests, and Mr Harris was known only as “Yewtree Five” until April, while other suspects were swiftly identified through lawyers, agents or neighbours.

 

Alison Saunders, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said the charges were imposed after lawyers agreed there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it was in the public interest.

 

“We have carefully considered the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police Service as part of Operation Yewtree in relation to Rolf Harris

 

“Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Harris to be charged with nine counts of indecent assault and four of making indecent images of a child.

 

“The alleged indecent assaults date from 1980 to 1986 and relate to two complainants aged 14 and 15 at the time of the alleged offending.”

 

The Australian-born entertainer will appear at Westminster magistrates court on September 23. The DJ, Dave Lee Travis, and PR guru Max Clifford, have already appeared in court after charges were laid in connection with the Yewtree inquiry.

 

Mr Harris, who painted a portrait of the Queen in 2005 and performed at her Diamond Jubilee concert last year, has been a family favourite for decades.

 

He had his first musical hit Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport in 1960, and continued to enjoy success in the industry, gaining cult status in recent years and performing at Glastonbury festival several times.

 

He also proved popular as a television presenter, getting his first big break in 1967 when he began hosting his own BBC1 programme, The Rolf Harris Show, before moving on to children's television in the 1980s and then to Animal Hospital, which he hosted from 1994 to 2004.

 

Mr Harris was awarded an MBE in 1968, an OBE in 1977 and a CBE in 2006, and was made Officer of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours list last year.

 

The full charge sheet is as follows:

 

= Indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16 years between 5 April 1980 and 4 April 1981.

 

= Indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16 years between 5 April 1980 and 4 April 1981.

 

= Indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16 years between 5 April 1980 and 4 April 1981.

 

= Indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16 years between 5 April 1980 and 4 April 1981.

 

= Indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16 years between 5 April 1980 and 4 April 1981.

 

= Indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16 years between 5 April 1980 and 4 April 1981.

 

= Indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16 years between 28 April and 7 June 1986

 

= Indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16 years between 28 April and 7 June 1986

 

= Indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16 years between 28 April and 7 June 1986

 

= Making indecent images of children on or before 16 March 2012

 

= Making indecent images of children on or before 25 May 2012

 

= Making indecent images of children on or before 11 June 2012

 

= Making indecent images of children on or before 18 July 2012

Irish Independent Supplement

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