Rolf Harris 'Admired' Bikini Body Of 13-Year-Old, Sex Abuse Trial Told

Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris has admitted that he admired the bikini body of 13-year-old friend of his daughter sexually while on holiday, after being shown a picture of the girl in her swimwear.

The 84-year-old conceded that when he complimented the teenager on her bikini during the holiday in the 1970s, he was actually complimenting her body. Harris made the admission while being cross-examined by prosecutor Sasha Wass QC during his second day in the witness box at his indecent assault trial.

The star is accused of 12 counts of indecent assault on four alleged victims between 1968 and 1986, all of which he denies. Seven relate to the friend of his daughter, who claims he abused her from the age of 13.

Court artist sketch of Rolf Harris as he is shown a photo of one of the complainants in a bikini during her holiday in the 1970s

Harris, who wore a dark suit and red tie and was supported in the public gallery by wife Alwen and other family members, sat in the witness box as he admitted that he might have complimented the girl's bikini on holiday when she was 13. Wass put to him that complimenting the girl about her bikini was actually a comment on her body, and suggested he was admiring her sexually.

She asked: "Do you accept that when a man tells a woman or a girl that they look lovely in a bikini, they are not actually admiring the clothing, but they are admiring the person's body?"

Harris replied: "Possibly."

Ms Wass asked: "What you were saying to (the alleged victim) is 'You have got a great body'."

Harris replied: "I suppose so."

The QC added: "When she was 13?"

Harris answered: "Yes."

Wass said: "And you made it plain to (the alleged victim) on that holiday that you did admire her, admire her body?"

Harris answered: "On one occasion, possibly."

The prosecutor added: "And you admired her sexually, that's what that is."

Harris answered: "It did not compute to that in my mind ... in hindsight, I suppose it is."

Wass went on: "And, of course, once we work out that you did see (the alleged victim) in a sexual light during that holiday, everything that (she) says becomes realistic, doesn't it?"

Harris replied: "Not as far as I'm concerned, because it never happened."

Referring to his behaviour on the trip, when the girl has claimed he indecently assaulted her several times, Wass suggested Harris "played with her like she was a toy". He said: "I would never do that."

Earlier Harris said he knew that touching a 13-year-old was a criminal offence, but denied anything had happened. As she began cross-examining the veteran star - who described his guilt yesterday at "betraying everyone" with the affair - Wass said: "This case is to decide whether underneath your friendly and loveable exterior there's a darker side lurking. The issue we really have to fathom from this court is how dark that dark side really is."

She said the prosecution alleges that the affair was not consensual at all, saying: "This was child abuse, grooming, and you effectively psychologically dominated that girl into womanhood."

Harris, who also revealed yesterday a second affair with a woman he and wife Alwen had allowed to live rent-free in an annexe at their home, has admitted having a relationship with his daughter's friend, but insists it started when she was 18. Today he told the court it was a "flirtatious thing" made up of isolated sexual encounters, and stemmed from " a feeling of love and friendship".

Asked today to describe the nature of their relationship, Harris said: "It was a flirtatious thing which developed. They were very isolated occasions. It stemmed from the feeling of love and friendship, as far as I was concerned. It was a mutual feeling of warmth and affection


Asking him to explain what he meant in a letter of apology he later wrote to the woman's father after she had told her family of the alleged abuse, Wass accused Harris of thinking he was "untouchable". Speaking in a low voice, Harris told jurors: "That's not what I intended at all."

He added that he "laughed in disbelief" when he found out the alleged victim had been "terrified" of him. He was surprised to learn she thought of him as the "great television star Rolf Harris", he told the court, adding: "I had no idea she thought of me in that way."

Harris shook his head as MWass detailed the woman's account of Harris allegedly beginning to abuse her on the holiday. "It never happened," he told jurors.

Referring to the alleged victim's evidence that after returning to the UK Harris visited her at her family home and went up to her bedroom, Wass put it to him: "By this time (the woman) was pretty much trained by you. You knew that she wasn't going to say anything. You knew that when she came back she wasn't going to say anything.

"1978 was quite a different era from 2014, isn't it, in terms of people making complaints about sexual abuse?"

"Yes," Harris replied.

The defendant confirmed he had taken part in an NSPCC campaign to raise awareness about child abuse but asked if this meant he was aware that children become more compliant the longer they are abused, he said: "I don't know that as a fact."

The veteran star was asked about the woman's mother's evidence to the court, as she said she also recalled Harris going up to her daughter's bedroom. "I think she's probably supporting her daughter's story," Harris said. Asked if he was suggesting the mother was lying, he replied: "I imagine so."

Ms Wass put it to the court that by the time the later allegations concerning the women happened, when she claims she stayed at his home in Bray, Berkshire, and he indecently assaulted her in Bindi's bedroom as a 15-year-old, she had been groomed by him. "I'm going to suggest that you have been pretty thorough in grooming her," the QC said. "No, it didn't happen," Harris replied.

Of a claim that he indecently assaulted the girl while his daughter was asleep in the same room, Harris said: "She said all sorts of things which if it wasn't so serious would have been laughable", adding: "It didn't happen."

He said the girl's allegation that he had looked over at his daughter while performing oral sex on her was "physically not possible".

Moving on to the other charges against him relating to other witnesses, Wass added: "There are a series of events in this case where you have taken advantage of the fact that you are a well-loved children's entertainer. It's all a lie you say, and it's all the same lie?" to which he replied: "Yes".

Harris said his daughter's friend was "distressed" when she found about his second affair with a woman whom he and wife Alwen allowed to stay in an annexe at their home and felt like "a woman scorned".

Harris was asked for his own version of events about how their relationship started. He told jurors that the woman came on to him as he brought her a cup of tea when she stayed over at his house, bearing her leg to him flirtatiously as she lay in bed without him having giving her any encouragement.

Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris arriving at Southwark Crown Court, London

Asked by Wass what words were said between them, he said he did not recall them speaking, although they might have exchanged "sweet nothings".

The star was pressed by Wass to explain why he referred to the "misery" he had caused to his daughter's friend when he wrote to her father.

The artist has claimed the woman asked him for £25,000 so she and her boyfriend could open a bird sanctuary, and when he refused, threatened to go to the newspapers.

Asked by Wass if he feared being exposed as a child molester, he said: "The dread was that my affair with a younger girl, an extramarital affair, would hit the newspapers, the Sunday newspapers, and I felt that was a sword of Damocles handing over my head for years."

Rolf Harris, London 1966

Rolf Harris through the ages