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Harris 'abused teenager on holiday'

Rolf Harris carried out a string of indecent assaults on a teenage friend of his daughter - on one occasion even abusing her while the pair shared a bedroom, a court heard today.

The woman, who claims the veteran entertainer began abusing her when she was 13, said he appeared to get "a thrill" out of carrying out assaults while his own daughter was present.

She told London's Southwark Crown Court that she kept the alleged abuse secret for years, frightened that nobody would believe her, but finally confessed to her parents in her late 20s.

She later told Harris's daughter Bindi when the star's daughter asked her: "has he touched you?", the court was told.

TV favourite Harris is accused of 12 counts of indecent assault - seven of which relate to the woman - between 1968 and 1986.

Giving evidence from behind a curtain, the woman told the court that Harris first abused her during a holiday in Hawaii when she was 13, giving her a "creepy" hug before putting his fingers inside her.

She said that as she stood in the towel during the trip in 1978: "He just came over and gave me one of his big hugs and tickles."

While her family gave each other "proper hugs", the woman said the way Harris embraced her was "a bit creepy".

She told the jury of six women and six men: "The way he hugged you and touched you all over, it was cringey.

"The way Rolf folded himself around you, he was a big man...he enfolded you in his arms and then touched you up and down over your body. He'd go 'ooh'."

The woman outlined a series of alleged indecent assaults carried out by the star in his home, and in hers - even when her parents were downstairs.

She said Harris appeared to get "a thrill" out of indecently assaulting her while his daughter Bindi was asleep in the same room.

"He didn't feel inhibited, I think he got a thrill out of it," the alleged victim told the jury.

Asked why she thought this, she said: "By the look on his face, looking over at Bindi and just carrying on."

She became anxious and panicky after the alleged abuse began, and began drinking, "swigging" glasses of gin and tonic water when her parents were not around, she said.

Four of the counts on the indictment against Harris allege that he indecently assaulted the girl when she was 15; two relate to allegations that he performed oral sex on her against her will before she was 16; and one relates to an occasion when he allegedly indecently assaulted her in a swimming pool when she was 19.

Harris, wearing a dark grey suit with a pink shirt and striped, multi-coloured tie, remained impassive as the alleged victim gave evidence, while wife Alwen also showed no visible emotion.

The court heard that the performer also masturbated in front of the alleged victim.

She said: "He came in and got his penis out, which was very small, very very small, and started to fondle himself."

It is claimed that he pushed the girl's head towards his penis.

The woman, who said she left school at 16, said she had started to become "distant" and felt she was to blame.

Asked about another alleged assault in a swimming pool at the entertainer's Berkshire home when she was 19, she said: "I let him do it, I didn't want him to, but I let him do it like all the other times."

The woman told the court that from the age of around 20 until she was 28 she had a number of consensual sexual encounters with Harris, and "felt dead".

She received a card from Harris that was sent to her flat, which she said was a "bit disgusting" and had a "sexual tone".

On the front was a picture of a dog, with the message: "All I need to know about life I learn from my dog...

"If you stare at someone long enough eventually you will get what you want.

"When it comes to having sex, if at first you don't succeed, beg."

The message went on: "Be aware of when to hold your tongue and when to use it.

"Always leave room in your schedule for a good nap.

"A cold nose in the crotch can be effective.

"When you do something wrong always take responsibility as soon as you are dragged out from under the bed.

"If it's not wet and sloppy it's not a real kiss."

The alleged victim told the court that when she was about 28 she invited Harris to her flat to discuss his daughter, who was "having some issues with her father", but instead he took her into the bedroom.

Outlining another incident, the woman said she went to see Harris perform in a pantomime when she was about 29, and gave him oral sex in his dressing room.

The court heard that later she wrote to Harris asking for £30,000 to help her boyfriend save his bird sanctuary.

She told the jury: "I wrote to Rolf in a drunken stupor, he was doing Animal Hospital at the time, so I thought perhaps he could help with some money."

The woman denied having threatened that she or her brother would go to the press if the performer did not give her the money. The alleged victim finally told her parents about the claimed abuse when her mother caught her drinking gin early in the day, the court heard.

She said: " I just blurted out 'it's that bloody Rolf Harris'. I just told them that he'd been touching me and stuff, and that was about it. I didn't tell them much."

The woman said she had not proactively told Bindi about the alleged assaults because it would have "devastated her", but she later ended up revealing her alleged abuse to Harris's daughter.

She said: "She (Bindi) was in a bit of a state because she thought that Rolf was having an affair with his housemaid, or keeper.

"She said, 'why have you got a downer on my dad?'

"And I didn't say anything and she just blurted out, she said, 'has he touched you?'

"So I looked at her and just said 'yes', and she was furious with him."

Bindi phoned the woman's mother that night to apologise, the alleged victim told the court, and then she, Bindi and Bindi's boyfriend stayed up all night discussing it, jurors heard.

"She was pretty devastated but she wasn't cross at me at all. She was really angry with her father and obviously very upset by it."

The woman told the court that she and Bindi stopped speaking six or seven years ago after " a big bust up".

Later, the woman invited Harris to her parents' home in Norfolk to confront him, the court heard, and "paraded" him around the village as she told him he had ruined her life.

The jury has already been told Harris wrote to the woman's father admitting a consensual adult affair and expressing his regret, but denying that he had abused her as a child.

Prosecutor Sasha Wass QC asked the woman if she considered going to the police in the late 1990s after telling her family.

She replied: "No, I was too drunk, I was too angry, I wasn't ready, I wasn't strong enough to go to the police."

But the woman changed her mind about going to the police when she saw Harris on television as part of the Queen's jubilee concert in the summer of 2012.

"I just thought 'can't I get away from this?'...that's when I decided that I wasn't going to have any more of it."

Ms Wass asked why she had taken so long to go to the police.

The woman replied: "I was just so scared of him. He was this big man on the telly and I thought no-one would believe me anyway. He is a huge character and I just thought I didn't stand a chance."

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.


From Belfast Telegraph