Police consider new Harris claims

Published Tuesday, 01 July 2014
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Police are reviewing further allegations of abuse against Rolf Harris.

Police consider new Harris claims
Rolf Harris leaves Southwark Crown Court after being convicted on Monday. (© Getty)

The 84-year-old was unanimously convicted at Southwark Crown Court on Monday of 12 sex charges involving four women, most while they were under age.

Following the verdict police said they would look at fresh allegations that were not part of his trial.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "We have received a number of new allegations and these are now being considered."

Dozens more alleged victims came forward during the trial, including several in Australia, and Scotland Yard has been in touch with their counterparts in the Australian police.

It is not yet clear whether they are pursuing any investigation in Harris's home country.

Harris faces prison when he is sentenced on Friday for the offences.

Following the news of his conviction Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told ABC radio: "I feel gutted and dismayed but it's very important that we do everything we humanly can to protect vulnerable young people. Sexual abuse is an utterly abhorrent crime."

The mayor of Perth in Western Australia said the council was considering tearing up a plaque to Harris inlaid in the city's St Georges Terrace.

Lisa Scaffidi told Fairfax radio: "I can't say until the council decision is made but the general feeling around the place is that we don't accept those kind of offences.

"It's a very sad issue and something we need to deal with."

It's just sad and tragic that this person who was admired seems to have been a perpetrator.

Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott

Asked about reaction to the verdicts, Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: "We have had an explosion of calls in the last 24 hours from people worried and concerned about sexual abuse, not particularly directly related to Rolf Harris himself, but I think this case is symptomatic of an increased confidence that people have now to seek justice for crimes that have been committed against them."

He told Good Morning Britain that the decision by Harris to feature in a child abuse prevention video Kids Can Say No in the 1980s had shown his "absolute hypocrisy".

As tributes to Harris could be removed in Australia, there is growing pressure for the disgraced entertainer to be stripped of his honours from the Queen.

Harris was first honoured at the palace in the late 1960s with an MBE, followed by an OBE a decade later, and a CBE in 2006.

The decision to revoke an honour must be approved by the Queen.

Harris has already had his BAFTA fellowship, awarded two years ago, removed.

A spokesman for the Academy confirmed on Monday that his honour would be removed in light of the conviction.

"The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has made the decision to annul the BAFTA fellowship bestowed upon Rolf Harris in 2012 following his conviction," said the spokesman.

© UTV News
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