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Rolf Harris found guilty of indecent assault

11 JUNE 2014

Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris has been found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault.

The 84-year-old was convicted of a string of offences that took place between 1968 and 1986, with his youngest victim aged seven.

He gave a slight nod as each verdict was read out, but otherwise remained impassive during his hearing on Monday at Southwark Crown Court, London.

The jury had taken 38 hours to deliberate the verdict in a trial that spanned six weeks. During proceedings, he was accompanied to court every day by his wife Alwen Hughes and daughter Bindi. His niece Jenny was also present on Monday.

 

Rolf Harris was found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault



They listened as prosecutors described him as a "pervert" and "Jekyll and Hyde" character who hid a demon under his "charming exterior" and treated his victims as "sexual objects to be groped and mauled when he felt like it".

Ten women testified against Rolf about assaults and described similar experiences, none of which could be coincidental, said prosecution QC Sacha Wass.

The artist is the second person after Max Clifford to be convicted under Operation Yewtree - the national investigation sparked by abuse claims against Jimmy Savile.

Police officers began to look into him in 2012 after a friend of his daughter Bindi claimed that she was abused over 16 years. The abuse, she told them, began on a holiday in Hawaii when she was aged just 13, while he claimed they had consensual sex when she was 18.

 

Rolf Harris' string of offences took place between 1968 and 1986


The woman approached detectives 34 years after she was first abused.

"And so began the investigation into the seemingly untouchable, world-famous children’s entertainer," said the prosecution.

"Thereafter police investigations uncovered more and more women who felt able to come forward and describe what Rolf Harris had done to them when they were young and vulnerable and impressionable.

"Each woman, unknown to the others, describes a similar pattern of deviant sexual behaviour. The chances of any of them making up such similar accusations in the absence of knowing each other is absurd."

The disgraced artist is currently on bail and will be sentenced on Friday, but not before he is given a medical examination and a report is produced given his age.

 

Rolf Harris was commissioned to paint a portrait of The Queen for her 80th birthday



Born in Australia on March 30, 1930, Rolf arrived in London aged 21 after being told by his parents it was "the hub of the universe". During six decades, he went on to find fame, hosting TV shows based on his easy charm, jokey songs and dab hand at illustrating.

In 1968, the entertainer was created an MBE - before advancing to OBE in 1977 and CBE in 2006. The latter came the year after his commission to paint a portrait of the Queen for her 80th birthday.

The artist is also the holder of a Bafta Fellowship, the British TV industry's highest honour, and has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Showing the breadth of his erstwhile popularity, he has performed five times at Glastonbury after a quirky cover of Led Zepellin's Stairway to Heaven reached the top ten.

"I think they put me on as a joke," he said of his first performance in 1993. "And there were 75,000 people there as far as the eye can see."

Now, though, this glittering reputation lies in tatters after the shocking revelations of the court case.

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