Rolf Harris trial: Girl 'assaulted while friend in room'
- 12 May 2014
- From the section UK
A woman has told a court Rolf Harris assaulted her several times as a teenager, including once when his own daughter was in the same room.
The alleged victim, who cannot be named, said she was scared of Mr Harris and that his actions were "creepy".
Mr Harris, 84, is alleged to have abused her from the age of 13 at her home and his, as well as on holiday.
The TV entertainer and artist denies 12 counts of indecently assaulting her and three other girls from 1968 to 1986.
His alleged victims were aged between seven or eight and 19 when the offences are said to have taken place.
Seven of the 12 counts are alleged to have been carried out on the woman, who was friends with Mr Harris's daughter Bindi.
The woman claimed that once while she was staying with the Harris family at their home in Berkshire, before she turned 16, Mr Harris performed a sex act on her while Bindi was asleep nearby.
The two beds were "close together" but Mr Harris did not seem inhibited by that fact, she told Southwark Crown Court.
Mr Harris, from Bray in Berkshire, is also alleged to have assaulted the girl in her bedroom while her parents were downstairs, the court heard.
After the alleged assault, Mr Harris "started laughing and joking with everybody" in the living room, the woman told the court.
The alleged victim, who was 15 at the time, said it would make her feel "anxious and panic-stricken" when she knew he would be coming to her house.
The alleged assaults at her house are said to have taken place after the girl went on holiday abroad with the Harris family, having been invited by Bindi.
She was 13 at the time she alleges Mr Harris assaulted her in a hotel room when she was only wearing a towel.
The woman, the first prosecution witness to appear in the trial, said Mr Harris gave her a "pretty creepy" hug before the assault, which she said lasted for a few seconds.
Afterwards Mr Harris acted as if nothing had happened, the court heard.
This alleged assault was before such offences abroad could be prosecuted in the UK, so it is not one of the charges against Mr Harris.
He also assaulted her after she had been snorkelling while on the same holiday, the court heard.
Six of the seven charges relating to the woman are for assaults which allegedly took place before she was 16.
She consented to various sexual encounters with Mr Harris when she was an adult, but earlier the court heard she had felt unable to say no.
The alleged victim said her sexual encounters with Mr Harris continued until she was 28, saying she "felt dead" on these occasions and did not know why she let it continue, except that she was "terrified" of him.
She told the court about a time when she was around 24 years old and she and the Harris family were visiting a mutual friend when she found herself alone with Mr Harris.
She said he assaulted her but a child, aged about eight, witnessed it and asked: "Why have you got your hand down [the victim's] trousers?"
"Rolf said 'no I haven't' and took his hand out quickly. He just carried on as normal," she told the jury.
Not 'strong enough'
The court earlier heard that the woman's father, on being told by his daughter about the alleged assaults, wrote to Mr Harris saying he was "disgusted" and never wanted to see him again.
The jury was told Mr Harris sent a reply, admitting a consensual adult affair and expressing his regret.
The alleged victim said Mr Harris later came to visit her, apologised and said "what have I done to you?" but denied their sexual relationship had begun when she was 13.
Asked why she did not go to the police earlier, the woman told the court she was not "strong enough".
But after seeing Mr Harris on TV at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 she decided she could not "get away from this bloody man" who "invades my home" via the TV.
She decided she "wasn't going to have any more of it" and called the police, she said.