Rolf Harris's daughter has described her fear that the star will die during his court case over allegations of a string of indecent assaults. Bindi Nicholls also told Southwark Crown Court she experienced "suicidal thoughts" in the wake of a revelation over her father's affair with her friend.
Veteran entertainer Harris is accused of 12 counts of indecent assault on four alleged victims between 1968 and 1986 - seven relating to a friend of Bindi's who claims he first assaulted her when she was 13. The artist has admitted an affair with the woman, but claims it was consensual and started when she was 18.
Mrs Nicholls, 50, who has been photographed walking to court with her father and mother each day, today denied her appearance was "staged" or "for show". Taking to the witness box, she said: ""My parents are 80-something, this is appalling for them. I have had to put my whole life on hold for two years. I'm frightened they are going to die in the middle of this court case."
She told the court she had experienced suicidal thoughts in the wake of the revelation about her father's affair, and admitted telling police she was "bashing my head against the wall", and "wanted to stab myself with forks". She said she was "seriously depressed and really upset" over the claims, and "really suicidal".
Earlier Mrs Nicholls broke down in court as she described the "utter shock" of discovering the relationship between her father and her friend, and claimed the alleged victim had told her it was an affair that started when she was 18 or 19. She said the alleged victim never told her that her first sexual encounter with Harris was when she was 13, and also dismissed claims that Harris sexually assaulted her friend while she slept in the same room as "laughable" and "ridiculous".
Describing the moment she learned of the pair's affair in the late-1990s, Mrs Nicholls said she confided in her friend that she suspected her father of having an affair with a woman who was living in an annexe at the family home, sparking an "odd" reaction. "It felt like she was in love with my dad, which was just weird," she told the court.
She said when she asked if something had happened between her and Harris, the alleged victim replied: "Well, it's been going on since I was 18 or 19, Bindi, it's been going on for ages." Describing how she felt a "head rush" at the time, she said: "The shock was just appalling."
Breaking down, she said: "It was just horrible. It felt like the whole world had changed in an instant." But she denied the woman's claims that it had been going on since she was 13, saying: "No, she never said that." Mrs Nicholls said she later confronted her father over the phone about the affair, prompting him to apologise.
Asked if she had worked through the issue with him, she told the court: "I realise we are all human. I think I had had him on a pedestal and now I can see him as a father and a man." The alleged victim has told the court that Harris first groped her on holiday in the 1970s, when she was 13, and that on one occasion he assaulted her while Bindi slept in the same room.
Mrs Nicholls, wearing a pink cardigan and black pencil skirt, laughed as she dismissed the woman's claims that Harris performed oral sex on her while she was asleep in the same room as "ridiculous". She said: "No, it's sort of laughable. There's no way I would fall asleep and have someone in the bed next to me doing stuff. That's ridiculous, it really is."
She said a claim by the alleged victim that Harris groped her as he wrapped a towel around her on the beach, would be "really odd" as Harris did not like the beach anyway. Asked if she was "financially dependent" on her father, Mrs Nicholls admitted he gives her a "monthly income" but said she also earned money herself.
The jury was read an email she sent to her father, asking for clarification of her parents' wishes about their £11 million estate. In the letter, Mrs Nicholls wrote: "It's like being told that you will be winning the lottery at some point so you get excited and dream about the things that you could do, which is quite normal, everyone would dream about that." But Harris's daughter told prosecutor Sasha Wass QC she had taken the letter out of context, saying: "My dad is very vague about money and I would like to feel a bit more understanding about what he wants and what mum wants and what I can do for them in their old age."
Pressed by the prosecutor on why she had appeared to give evidence, she said: "This isn't about me helping my father, this is about telling the truth." Asked why she had received counselling in the past, Mrs Nicholls told the court: "I have been having counselling because it's really difficult being the daughter of a famous man and dealing with that on your own is really difficult. It's not just about this. I have dealt with all sorts of things in therapy."
She added: "I'm actually telling the truth, that's what I am doing here. I don't get very often to be able to say what I feel about anything. This is my time to be able to say what I have had happen to me."
The case, at Southwark Crown Court, was adjourned to 10am on Tuesday.