Sunday, 28 May 2023

How Rolf Harris’s brave victims – including daughter’s friend – exposed paedo

Rolf Harris dies aged 93

Australian-born TV star Rolf Harris was once a firm family favourite, instantly recognisable to old and young Britons alike. But that was before he was convicted of 12 indecent assaults at London’s Southwark Crown Court in June 2014. Harris, who has been confirmed dead today, was exposed by a litany of disturbing evidence offered by his victims, which included a shocking victim impact statement from a close female friend of Harris’s daughter Bindi Nicholls.

In June 2014, the friend, who must remain anonymous, described harrowing “panic attacks” and “suffering from anxiety” as a “direct result” of Rolf Harris’s actions.

When she was just 13, Harris began to groom and touch her. She’d turned to drinking when she was 14 years old in an attempt to “block out the effects” of his attacks.

A victim statement was presented in 2014. The victim stated: “I suffered abuse at the hands of a person who thought he could get away with it. He made me feel that I would not be believed and as a result I suffered in silence.”

Harris’s daughter, who described herself as “absolute best friends” with the victim, said she was “shocked”.

As well as a catalogue of abuse against his daughter’s friend over 16 years, the indecent assaults included one eight-year-old autograph hunter and two girls in their early teens.

Following his conviction, Harris was stripped of his CBE, which he received after painting Queen Elizabeth’s 80th birthday portrait.

In May 2017, he was formally cleared of four unconnected historical sex offences which he had denied. Later the same year, one of the 12 indecent assault convictions was overturned by the Court of Appeal.

A new documentary, titled Rolf Harris: Hiding in Plain Sight, has been aired on ITVX.

It features victims, many of whom have waived their right to anonymity more than a decade after the TV host’s betrayal to his family and the British public.

A therapist, Chip Somers, speaks on behalf of Victim A who had to “carry this incredible secret, this incredible burden, this incredible sense of guilt and disgust and hatred” of what had happened to her.

The documentary also includes Suzi Dent, who was a make-up artist for Rolf Harris for Channel 7 in Australia, and Anita Jacoby, a TV Executive Producer who oversaw an interview with Harris for the TV show Enough Rope.

It will also investigate how the criminal justice system deals with historical cases of sexual abuse.

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Rolf Harris’s death

Today, a statement from the family of Rolf Harris released by their solicitors said: “This is to confirm that Rolf Harris recently died peacefully surrounded by family and friends and has now been laid to rest.

“They ask that you respect their privacy. No further comment will be made.”

Their statement comes days after it had been reported the former entertainer had been “gravely ill” and had been battling throat cancer. 

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