UK & World News

  • 13 May 2014, 3:54

Rolf Harris 'Assaulted Teen On Family Holiday'

Rolf Harris indecently assaulted a 13-year-old girl "in eyeshot" of his wife and daughter, his alleged victim has told a court.

The 49-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was the first witness to give evidence at the entertainer's sex trial and is a childhood friend of his daughter Bindi.

Jurors heard how Harris, 84, began abusing her in 1978 while on an overseas family break - and the indecent assaults carried on back in Britain, at his home and hers.

Speaking from behind a screen, she told how he first targeted her as she came out of a hotel shower, groping her as he wrapped her in a towel.

The woman said he gave her ''one of his big hugs and tickles'' which she said she found ''creepy and cringey", before putting his hand through the towel to assault her.

She added she was ''shocked and horrified'' at what happened but didn't tell anyone "'because it was Bindi's father".

Harris is then said to have assaulted her again as she emerged from the sea, again groping her under a towel he had wrapped her in, while his daughter and wife Alwen were close by.

At one stage during the five-week holiday, she said she woke to the sound of a "clicking camera" as Harris stood over her taking pictures.

Southwark Crown Court heard how the woman lived close to the Harris family home in the 1960s and she had grown up with Bindi.

In a faltering voice she added how the assaults continued throughout the holiday, but she did not say anything because of who Harris was.

Harris listened from the dock dressed in a dark suit and tie, occasionally glancing over at the jury and prosecutor.

The TV presenter and artist is accused of 12 counts of sexual offences against four young girls, alleged to have taken place between 1968 and 1986. He denies all the charges.

The witness also described to the court how she had performed a sex act on Harris as they were driving towards London from his home in 1987.

She said: "He didn't say anything apart from a few moans and groans. It lasted about three minutes. Nothing was said before or afterwards."

The witness told the court that during this time she "had no relationship" with him and that she "felt dead".

Another time he was caught with his hands down the front of her trousers by the nine-year-old brother of a friend but he simply denied it and laughed it off.

She said "it all came to an end" when she was aged about 29 and moved to another part of the country from her home in London.

The woman also described how she had eventually told Bindi what Harris had been doing to her, while she was visiting her friend who had just had a baby.

She said: "Bindi was in a bit of a state. She thought Rolf Harris was having an affair with the housekeeper. I was a bit damning of Rolf.

"She asked me: 'Why have you got a downer on my dad ?' I didn't say anything. She asked: 'Has he touched you?' So I looked at her and said yes. She was furious with him."

The trial continues.

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