UK

Rolf Harris trial: Ex-TV star 'grabbed woman's breasts'

Rolf Harris Image copyright JULIA QUENZLER

Rolf Harris pushed a woman against a wall and grabbed her breasts in an "opportunistic grope", his trial heard.

The woman, a BBC employee in her 40s at the time of the alleged assault in 2004, told Southwark Crown Court Mr Harris looked "vacant" after he thrust his crotch against her at a BBC party.

The 86-year-old former TV star faces alternate charges of indecent assault and sexual assault against the woman.

He denies seven charges of indecent assault and one of sexual assault.

'A heavy shove'

The alleged assaults, against seven victims aged between 12 and 42, are said to date from 1971 to 2004.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court: "All of a sudden he very quickly - it happened quite quickly - he with both arms out pushed me against the white wall.

"I had to step back, it was a shove, a heavy shove."

Jurors heard he slid his hands down to her breasts, and grabbed and squeezed them as he thrust against her.

'So embarrassed'

"He looked to me and his eyes came to my eyes and then he looked away. He was quite vacant," the woman said.

"It was seconds. It wasn't a super long time - it felt to me like a quick, opportunistic grope and I kind of naturally kind of slid out from him."

Giving evidence by video link, the woman said she was "so embarrassed" by the alleged incident.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Harris is serving a sentence at Stafford Prison for a series of offences of indecent assault

She told the court that at least 50 people were in the room but that no-one appeared to notice the interaction.

It happened at an "informal" party marking the end of a TV show Mr Harris had presented, she said.

Stephen Vullo, defending, suggested that Mr Harris's wife had been there too.

He said to the woman: "Your story is totally fabricated from beginning to end, isn't it?"

She replied: "No, it isn't, it isn't."

She denied being an attention seeker or that her allegations were motivated by financial gain, adding that Mr Harris had touched her deliberately and had not tripped.

Mr Harris is appearing by video link from Stafford Prison, where he is serving a sentence for a series of offences of indecent assault carried out against four female victims.

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