Wednesday 25 April 2018

Court told of 'sexual chemistry' between Harris and accuser

Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London, Tuesday, May 13, 2014.
Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London, Tuesday, May 13, 2014.

Hayley Dixon

There was "sexual chemistry" between Rolf Harris and his daughter's teenage friend and they ended up in bed together at his family home, a court heard.

The veteran entertainer is accused of grooming a childhood friend of his daughter Bindi, before sexually assaulting her when she was 13 and continuing to abuse her throughout her teenage years.

But defence counsel suggest that a consensual relationship between the pair began when she was around 18 and, jealous of Bindi's friendship with another girl and drifting apart from her friend, she began flirting with her dad.

On one occasion, when Bindi had moved into her own flat in the grounds of the family home in Bray, Berkshire, she stayed in the house and Mr Harris brought her a cup of tea in the morning.

"Because you were jealous you flirted with Rolf Harris, you grabbed his elbow as if guiding him to sit on the bed," Sonia Woodley, defending, suggested.

She said that on another occasion when she stayed the night, "once again there was a sexual chemistry between the two of you ... One thing led to another and there was oral sex".

The woman replied "absolutely not".

Giving evidence from behind a curtain at Southwark Crown Court in London, she claims the 84-year-old first assaulted her during a holiday to Hawaii in 1978 when he touched her as she got out of the shower in only a towel.

He abused her again on the same trip by putting his hands inside her bikini when his wife Alwen and daughter Bindi were sunbathing just a few feet away, the witness claims.

The woman is named on seven of the 12 indecent assault charges against the artist and musician, all of which he denies.

The sexual assault charges relate to alleged attacks when the woman was aged between 13 and 19. The other five charges relate to attacks on three other women between 1968 and 1986.

Mr Harris sat emotionless in the dock as the woman maintained she was telling the truth during cross-examination.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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