Wednesday 23 August 2017

Rolf Harris 'pulled teen girl (14) onto his lap' and assaulted her - court hears

Rolf Harris Picture: Getty
Rolf Harris Picture: Getty

Aine Fox

A woman who was 14 when she was allegedly assaulted by Rolf Harris at a youth music event said she finally found the "courage" to come forward when she heard he was being prosecuted for indecent assault.

The children's entertainer is accused of pulling the teenager on to his lap and putting his hand up her skirt - one of a string of allegations he faces in a trial at Southwark Crown Court.

The woman, who had been at a youth music event at the Lyceum Theatre in London in 1971, said she was shocked and frightened by the incident, but had not felt able to officially report it in the decades since.

In a recording of the call she made to the NSPCC in July 2014, which was played to the court, the woman said: "To be honest with you this is something that's been on my mind for absolutely years and years but I haven't had the courage to come forward.

"But seeing this in the news, it's just run thoughts through my head and I've been pushed by friends for years to say something and I haven't said anything."

She told the call handler she suspected Harris would be arrested after the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal was uncovered.

She said: "You know it all kicked off with, obviously it started with Jimmy Savile. You know I've told friends for years, 'you know, I know who's coming next'."

The woman, giving evidence to the court by video-link, denied being motivated by the possibility of compensation and lying about what she said happened when she got an autograph from the Australian celebrity.

Following a suggestion that she had bought the autograph online to support her allegation, prosecutor Jonathan Rees said: "Have you at any stage purchased an autograph of Rolf Harris from the internet or anywhere else to support a lying story?"

She replied: "No."

"Are you after his money?"

"No."

She is one of seven girls and women allegedly assaulted in a series of "brazen" attacks spanning 30 years, the most recent in 2004, the court has heard.

Harris, who appeared by video-link, "continues to maintain his innocence" regarding a series of indecent assaults on four female victims for which he is serving a sentence at Stafford Prison, the jury has been told.

The 86-year-old has pleaded not guilty to the seven fresh counts of indecent assault and one alternative charge of sexual assault. 

The case was adjourned until 10am on Friday.

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