Sunday 22 September 2019

Rolf Harris asks to spend 'remaining time in peace' with wife after being cleared of sex attacks on teenage girls

Rolf Harris Picture: Getty
Rolf Harris Picture: Getty

David Wilcock

Disgraced television star Rolf Harris has spoken of his relief after being formally cleared of indecently assaulting three teenage girls.

Harris was found not guilty of four charges that he carried out sex attacks on girls as young as 13 between 1971 and 1983 after a jury could not reach verdicts.

Prosecutors later said they would not seek what would be a second retrial and Harris, jailed in 2014 for a separate string of sex attacks on young women and girls, walked free from court.

In a statement read outside Southwark Crown Court in London by his lawyer Daniel Berke, he said: "Whilst I'm pleased that this is finally all over, I feel no sense of victory, only relief.

"I'm 87 years old, my wife is in ill health and we simply want to spend our remaining time together in peace."

Read More: Alleged victim of Rolf Harris 'speaking out for vindication and justice'

Harris left court in a media scrum without making any comment to waiting reporters before getting into a waiting car.

The disgraced former star was twice tried over the alleged sex attacks on teenage girls.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Rolf Harris appearing by video link at Southwark Crown Court in London. Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Rolf Harris appearing by video link at Southwark Crown Court in London. Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

But after the second trial jury was unable to reach verdicts on four historical indecent assault charges on Tuesday, Judge Deborah Taylor formally found him not guilty of all four charges of indecent assault, which he had denied.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC told the court: "We have reviewed whether it would be appropriate to seek a further retrial on these allegations.

"We have come to the firm view that it would not.

"Accordingly we offer no evidence to the four counts on the indictment."

Read More: Rolf Harris cleared of three sex charges in second trial

There was a cry of "well done Rolf" from the public gallery as the ex-television star left the courtroom.

Harris was alleged to have touched one complainant after a recording of the BBC children's show Saturday Superstore in 1983.

He had also been accused of indecently touching a 14-year-old girl in 1971 after she asked him for an autograph at a music event for children in London.

The musician and artist had also been accused of twice groping a third teenage girl after being paid £100 to appear on ITV celebrity show Star Games in 1978, and telling her she was "a little bit irresistible".

Harris, who denied all the charges, did not give evidence with his lawyers saying he did not remember any of the events in question.

His lawyers claimed the women were motivated by greed, coming forward after he was convicted in June 2014 of 12 counts of indecent assault.

Harris left HMP Stafford on licence part-way through this retrial after serving less than three years of a five year and nine month sentence handed down in June 2014 for unconnected sex attacks on young girls and women.

He appeared in the dock in person after his release, having appeared via video link for the first part of the trial.

PA Media

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