Harris 'victim' admits date error

Published Wednesday, 21 May 2014
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A woman who alleges she was groped by Rolf Harris when she was 15 has admitted she was wrong about the date she claims she was abused by him.

Harris 'victim' admits date error
Rolf Harris denies all charges. (© Getty)

Former aspiring actress Tonya Lee, 43, told the jury at his trial on Tuesday that she was sexually abused twice by the Australian entertainer in a London pub at the start of a theatre tour in May 1986.

But under cross-examination at Southwark Crown Court in London on Wednesday, she accepted itinerary evidence from defence barrister Sonia Woodley QC that showed she did not meet Harris until the end of the tour.

The defence claims she did not have any physical contact with entertainer Harris.

Miss Lee said she was not a "robot" with a head for dates and had not kept any mementos or photos from the tour because she did not want to be reminded of what happened.

She told the jury her memory of the tour "floated into the ether" but her recollection of what happened to her was clear.

She said: "There is no doubt in my mind what occurred to me. Both assaults are very clear in my mind.

"I got the dates wrong, I admit to that."

Miss Lee had previously told Southwark Crown Court that Harris met the performers from the Shopfront Theatre Youth Group when they arrived at London's Heathrow Airport in May that year, and later went for dinner at a pub with them, when she was allegedly indecently assaulted.

She also admitted to being mistaken about the cause of her weight loss during the 1986 tour.

She told the jury of six men and six women yesterday that she lost 9lb-13lb (4kg-6kg) when she "stopped eating" and began throwing up after Harris abused her.

But she accepted today that there were only six days between meeting Harris and her going home early in June, so the weight loss must have had a different cause.

Miss Lee said: "I don't know, maybe it was because I was overseas, away from my family.

She also denied claims that her eating disorders predated her meeting with Harris.

Miss Lee has waived the usual right to anonymity given to alleged sex offence victims.

Harris, 84, is accused of 12 counts of indecent assault between 1968 and 1986, all of which he denies. Three of the charges relate to Ms Lee's claims.

Meanwhile a picture of Harris with his young grandson Marlon was ripped in half by the boy's father after he was told almost 20 years ago that the entertainer abused an under-age girl, the court heard.

Malcolm Cox, the ex-partner of daughter Bindi Harris, said they had spoken with the girl in an "all-night discussion" at the star's Bray home in 1996 or 1997, when she was an adult.

Harris has admitted having a sexual relationship with the woman, a friend of Bindi, but denies it started when she was under-age.

Mr Cox told the court that while she had not said it directly, the woman suggested her sexual relationship with the singer, presenter and artist started when she was under 16.

Mr Cox said his relationship with the Harris family had never been good but his relationship with Bindi went downhill from that point, leading to their split.

He said the incident affected his attitude to Harris "immeasurably".

He said: "I carry a photo in my wallet which was a photo of Marlon and Rolf together. It's ripped, I have taken the Rolf half away for that very reason."

The trial continues.

© UTV News
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