Woman tells court of Harris 'assaults'

Published Monday, 12 May 2014
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A woman has told a court Rolf Harris indecently assaulted her on a number of occasions when she was a teenager, including one incident when his daughter was in the same room.

Woman tells court of Harris 'assaults'
Rolf Harris denies all charges. (© Getty)

She also told Southwark Crown Court in London how he would give her "creepy" hugs before indecently assaulting her during a holiday in Hawaii when she was 13.

Giving evidence from behind a curtain, the woman claimed the 84-year-old touched her when she was wrapped in only a towel during the trip in 1978.

Speaking about the alleged incident, the woman told the jury of six women and six men: "The way he hugged you and touched you all over, it was cringey."

She claims he then indecently assaulted her, adding: "I was shocked and panicked by it because I didn't know what to do. I thought "I don't know quite what's happened here but whatever it is, it's not good"."

The alleged incident is not included among charges that Harris faces, because it happened abroad before such offences could be prosecuted in the UK.

Harris is accused of abusing her from the age of 13 at her home and his, as well as on holiday.

He denies 12 counts of indecently assaulting her and three other girls from 1968 to 1986.

His alleged victims were aged between seven or eight and 19 when the offences are said to have taken place.

The woman, who jurors have heard was a friend of Harris's daughter Bindi, said he indecently assaulted her again during the same holiday, when the star's wife and daughter were sunbathing "a few feet away".

Asked why she did not tell them or shout out, she said: "I was a very shy child, excruciatingly shy really, and I just hadn't got the guts to shout out and I thought, well, if you shout out it will cause mayhem anyway. It was Bindi's dad and Alwen's husband."

The court heard that on one occasion the woman woke up to hear the "clicking of a camera" and found Harris taking photographs of her.

She said that she "buried" the alleged holiday assaults after coming back to the UK, and later began drinking, "swigging" glasses of gin and tonic water when her parents were not around.

By the time she was 15 she had started drinking to cope with the anxiety, the woman told the court, and if she knew she might see Harris she would drink a "shed load of gin".

"It would calm me right down, stop my heart beating, and stop my anxiety," she told jurors.

The woman then described two occasions when during a visit to her home, Harris allegedly cornered her and indecently assaulted her.

She said she was "terrified" and "anxious" when she knew he was coming, but did not tell her mother that she did not want to see him.

"It didn't occur to me because she would ask why, and I didn't want to say anything so I just kept quiet," she said.

The woman felt anxious and "panicky" when she went to stay at the Harris home in Bray, the court heard, but said: "I just couldn't contemplate not seeing Bindi because we were such close friends."

On another occasion Harris allegedly indecently assaulted her while his daughter was in the same room asleep, despite the beds being "quite close together".

The trial continues.

© UTV News
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