BBC News

Rolf Harris questioned in Yewtree sex offence probe

image copyrightPA
image captionThe entertainer and artist has been granted bail until May

Rolf Harris has been questioned by police over historical allegations of sexual offences.

The 83-year-old entertainer and artist was interviewed under caution after attending police premises in south London by appointment in November.

On 28 March, Mr Harris, from Berkshire, was arrested and bailed until May.

He was held as part of the inquiry set up after claims were made against Jimmy Savile although his arrest is unrelated to the former BBC DJ and TV presenter.

Operation Yewtree was set up following the death of Savile in 2011, when hundreds of sex abuse allegations came to light.

The Metropolitan Police did not name Mr Harris after he was first questioned or following his arrest and have still not formally identified him. He is described by them as Yewtree 5.

Although the media were aware of Mr Harris's name in November, they chose only to report that an 82-year-old man had been questioned. His name was first reported by the Sun on its website and later editions of the newspaper on Friday.

Twelve arrests

Mr Harris, one of 12 people arrested as part of Operation Yewtree, has not yet made any public comment.

He has been a fixture on British TV screens for more than 40 years, having arrived in the UK from his native Australia in 1952.

His home in Berkshire was searched in November but he was not in the house at that point.

Scotland Yard said in March: "An 82-year-old man from Berkshire was arrested by officers on Operation Yewtree on suspicion of sexual offences.

"He has been bailed to a date in May pending further inquiries. The individual falls under the strand of the investigation we have termed 'others'."

Meanwhile, Channel 5 said it had removed two programmes from its schedule because of the ongoing "legal matter involving Rolf Harris".

Olive the Ostrich, a cartoon narrated by Mr Harris, and repeats of Rolf's Animal Clinic were no longer being broadcast, the channel's head of publicity, Nicolas Caley, said.

Police inquiries

The police investigation has three strands.

One is looking specifically at the actions of Savile, and the second strand concerns allegations against "Savile and others".

The third strand relates to complaints against other people unconnected to the Savile investigations, made by people who came forward after widespread coverage of the scandal.

Other high-profile names who were questioned in connection with the investigation are PR consultant Max Clifford, comedian Freddie Starr, DJ Dave Lee Travis and comedian Jim Davidson - who all deny any wrongdoing. Gary Glitter, 69, whose real name is Paul Gadd, who was also arrested, has not yet made a statement.

A former driver for the BBC, David Smith, 66, has been charged with past sex offences following his arrest in December.

A former BBC producer, Wilfred De'Ath, arrested last year in Cambridgeshire over an allegation of indecent assault on a girl in the 1960s, has been told he will not face any charges.

More on this story

  • Rolf Harris: Profile