Rolf Guilty of His Dirty Little Secrets!
As Rolf Harris sang of a married man’s fixation with a schoolgirl, no one in the audience could have guessed that it was a chilling echo of his own sick obsession.
Harris told the hushed crowd that the song’s “heartbroken” protagonist is chased away by the girl’s family.
The entertainer fought back tears as he read out lines of the song, including: “I asked your mother for you, she told me you was too young.”
It was as though Harris was referring to his perverted infatuation with his daughter’s friend – the victim he began abusing when she was just 13.
Now aged 49, it was her evidence that helped convict him yesterday and brought his world crashing down.
In the mid-1990s, when she was in her 20s, the woman finally plucked up the courage to tell her parents about the sexual abuse.
The family reacted with fury and warned Harris to stay away.
He wrote a grovelling letter to her dad, denying her rape claims.
Harris also lied that the sexual relationship began when she was 18. But his damning letter added: “When I see the misery I have caused [the girl] I am sickened by myself.”
She finally told police in 2012 about the years of abuse. Her horrific story sparked the probe into Harris and gave other victims the courage to come forward.
The star was quizzed by Met police over the child sex offences he has now been convicted of.
It was just three months after he was first questioned that Harris performed the song about the man’s lust for a schoolgirl.
Harris sang the track – Goodnight Irene, first recorded by legendary US bluesman Lead Belly in 1933 – in February last year during his encore for an adoring crowd at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank in London.
He first abused the victim in 1978 during a holiday to Hawaii and Australia with his wife Alwen and their daughter Bindi. Harris was 48 at the time – 35 years older than the victim who he had known since she was born.
The attacks continued for 16 years, because, she said, she could not say no to a big star like Harris.
She went to the police after seeing him on stage at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert in June 2012.
As Harris sang the lyrics to his hit song Two Little Boys, the woman felt ready to drop her bombshell. The woman said: “He had been on the telly quite a lot recently and it was like he invades my home every time. You clicked over and there’s his mug.
“That’s when I decided I wasn’t going to have any more of it.”
When Operation Yewtree – the inquiry set up into the Jimmy Savile scandal – launched a few months later, the woman approached the Met to tell them about Harris’s dark side.
The entertainer faced seven counts of indecent assault in relation to this key witness.
Having become pals with Bindi, the girl had been invited to join the Harris family on the holiday in 1978.
She was already afraid of her friend’s famous dad because of his habit of giving “creepy” hugs.
“I never liked it,” she said. “The way Rolf would enfold himself around you. He was a big man in stature and he’d enfold you in his arms and tickle you up and down over your body.”
The girl was coming out of the shower wearing just a towel in the Hawaii hotel room she shared with Bindi when the entertainer first struck.
After wrapping his arms around her, he slid his fingers inside her towel and touched her. “I just thought ‘oh my god, what’s happened?’,” said the victim. The singer approached her again as she walked out of the sea wearing a bikini.
He wrapped her in a towel in view of Alwen and Bindi before molesting her.
Asked why she could not tell anyone about the assaults, the woman explained: “I was a very shy child, excruciatingly shy, and I just hadn’t got the guts to shout out and I thought if I shout out it will cause mayhem because it was Bindi’s dad and Alwen’s husband. I was just numb with it.”
More than a decade later, when the woman was 28, Harris confessed the bikini she wore on that trip “always turned him on”. When they returned home from the holiday, Harris would visit the girl’s house, cornering her in her bedroom and subjecting the teen to more assaults.
The girl turned to alcohol to cope. “I felt anxious and very panicky and that’s why I started to drink,” she said.
When she visited Bindi at the family’s home in Bray, Berks, Harris even abused the girl as his daughter slept in the same room. “He didn’t feel inhibited, I think he got a thrill out of it,” she said.
The victim says she was an alcoholic within a few years.
Harris’s brazen behaviour continued, abusing the girl in his Mercedes as they drove on the M4 and in his dressing room at a panto.
When she was 25, Harris groped her under a blanket they were sharing with Bindi as they watched TV at her home in Devon.
Asked how she felt during that time, she replied: “I loathed myself. Hate for him. I felt I couldn’t stop it and I should have stopped it.
“I was scared of him. He was a big man and I thought no one would believe me anyway and he’s a huge character and I thought I didn’t stand a chance.”
he blurted out the truth to her family when they confronted her about her drinking.
Her older brother warned Harris to stay away from his sister. Arrogant Harris said: “It takes two to tango.” At about the same time the woman told Bindi about the abuse.
“She was furious with him,” recalls the victim. Their friendship came to an end a few years later. The victim asked Harris to visit her in Norfolk in 1997 and told the star he had “ruined my life”.
But in the letter to the woman’s dad, Harris said: “There was no rape, no physical forcing.” He signed the letter: “Please forgive me, love Rolf.”
He said the woman told him she had always been terrified of him and only went along with his demands because she “could not say no to the great
television star Rolf Harris”.
In his evidence, Harris said he had a decade-long fling with the victim and she instigated it. But prosecutor Sasha Wass told the trial: “Throughout this case you have had to tailor your whole defence to what you said in that reply to [the girl’s dad].
“You couldn’t say [the girl] made all this up because you admitted it happened in the letter.”