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Rolf Harris Trial: Entertainer's 'Lovely Curves' Comments Were 'Friendly, Not Lurid', Court Hears

03/06/2014 13:42 BST | Updated 03/06/2014 14:59 BST

Rolf Harris would compliment a girl on her "lovely curves" but in a way that was "friendly and warm", his trial has heard.

Joanne Charles, a friend of Harris' daughter Bindi Nicholls when they were teenagers, told Southwark Crown Court she had "never" seen Harris act inappropriately.

Asked how Harris' behaviour had been when she got older, she said: "It's been the same really. He has always been very cuddly, very warm, tactile.

"I think there were comments like 'Goodness, aren't you a curvy girl? You've got such lovely curves'."

But she said she did not find them offensive, adding: "It wasn't in a lurid way, it was in a friendly, warm way."

Asked if Harris, 84, was eccentric, she described how he would suddenly start making funny noises during a meal, or would burst into song, saying: "Yes, he is very, very unusual."

But she said he was much quieter at home. Harris faces 12 counts of indecent assault, which he denies.

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Rolf Harris denies 12 counts of indecent assault

He showed "no interest" in a girl he allegedly molested from the age of 13 and would "run away"when she and his daughter's teenage friends were together, Ms Charles said.

She said that when he gave her one of his bear hugs it was like her father embracing her.

Sonia Woodley QC, defending, asked whether she remembered Harris ever showing any interest in the alleged victim, who is named in seven of 12 counts of indecent assault.

Ms Charles replied: "When we were all together, I think we were too loud and too giggly and Rolf used to run away from the noise and the giggling. I think he thought we were all a bit too giggly, silly."

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The witness said his embraces were paternal rather than sexual.

"It was lovely. It was affectionate," she told the jury of six men and six women.

"Because I had known him for so long, it was just like having my father put his arms around me and cuddle me."

She described Harris as "lovely...gentle and kind...a real softy".

Her father Don Charles ran a club in Malta where Harris would perform in the 1970s, the court heard.

When her family returned to the UK, she would go and stay with Bindi and her family.

rolf hairris

Harris was described as 'gentle and kind' by a friend of his daughter's

She described Bindi's friend, who was allegedly assaulted by Harris, as "bland".

"From my recollection, she was quiet and I hate to say it, because it sounds so awful, but she was a bit bland," she said.

Under cross-examination from prosecutor Sasha Wass QC, Ms Charles admitted that she had only met the alleged victim a "handful" of times.

She said she was "saddened and shocked" by Harris' claim to have had an affair with the girl after she reached the age of consent.

She said: "It's a terribly sad thing, but as far as I saw it that was his private life and it had nothing to do with me."

Rolf Harris through the ages