UK & World News

  • 4 July 2014, 12:08

Rolf Harris Sentenced For Sex Attacks

Rolf Harris is being sentenced for a string of sex attacks against young girls.

Mr Justice Sweeney at Southwark Crown Court is telling the 84-year-old that he took advantage of victims who were in awe of his celebrity status.

The judge is going through each count Harris has been found guilty of, detailing his offences.

He is then going to tell Harris what sentence he will get. Harris is stood in the dock, flanked by two guards and he has his small suitcase behind him.

The TV personality arrived at Southwark Crown Court this morning accompanied by his daughter Bindi and entered the building without speaking to reporters.

His wife, Alwen, was not in court as she was apparently unwell.

Victim impact statements have been read out and there were also remarks from prosecution and defence teams.

Prosecutors have said he will not stand trial over claims he downloaded sexual images of children.

The 84-year-old allegedly had 33 such photographs among a larger collection of thousands of adult pornographic images.

Prosecutors claimed he had looked at a site called "teeny tiny girlfriends" and accessed a picture of a girl who was "extremely young in appearance".

Harris also allegedly clicked on other words including "youngest teen porn", "my little nieces" and "young teen girls".

Earlier in the day, Harris had left his riverside home in Bray, Berkshire, by boat as he made his way to the court in central London.

Following a seven-week trial, Harris was found guilty on Monday of 12 counts of indecent assault against four girls between 1968 and 1986, with his youngest victim aged just seven or eight.

In impact statements read out in court, one victim said: "He made me feel dirty, grubby and disgusting.

"He had a hold over me, made me a quivering wreck. I was scared of him. He used and abused me ... I felt worthless."

Another victim said: "I have never felt safe since ... I've developed eating disorders and become an alcoholic."

A third said: "He took away my childhood."

And a fourth said: "He treated me like a toy he had played with for his own pleasure."

Prosecutor Sasha Wass described Harris as a ''sinister pervert'' who used his fame to get close to young women and girls, adding that he had a ''dark side'' and was a ''Jekyll and Hyde character''.

Police said after the trial that Harris believed his fame put him above the law.

He was convicted of nine assaults between 1968 and 1985 - one on the seven or eight year old, and the rest on teenagers aged between 14 and 19.

The law at the time put the punishment at a maximum of two years, or five years for victims under 13.

The remaining three guilty verdicts were for three counts of indecent assault on Tonya Lee, who waived her right to anonymity, in 1986 when she was 15, when the maximum penalty had changed to 10 years.

Mr Justice Sweeney may consider Harris' age when deciding the sentence but he has been warned a prison term is likely.

Since his conviction Harris has been stripped of his Bafta fellowship, lost an honorary degree from the University of East London and also faces losing his CBE.

Police are now looking into dozens more claims from alleged victims in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Harris' multimillion-pound fortune could be dented by legal costs and compensation claims as a result of his guilty verdict.