Rolf Harris guilty: The damning letter that sealed his fate

Damning piece of evidence produced during trial

One of the most damning pieces of evidence that convicted Rolf Harris was a letter he sent to the father of one of his victims apologising for his behaviour.

In the letter, Harris talks of his self-loathing at his “affair” with a woman 35 years his junior but denied that it ever involved underage sex.

"Please forgive me for not writing sooner.

You said in your letter to me that you never wanted to see me or hear from me again, but now [the woman] says it’s all right to write to you. Since that trip up to Norfolk, I have been in a state of abject self-loathing. How we delude ourselves. I fondly imagined that everything that had taken place had progressed from a feeling of love and friendship – there was no rape, no physical forcing, brutality or beating that took place.

When I came to Norfolk, [the woman] told me that she had always been terrified of me and went along with everything that I did out of fear of me. I said ‘Why did you never just say no?’ And [the woman] said how could she say no to the great television star Rolf Harris.

 

Until she told me that, I had no idea that she was scared of me. She laughs in a bitter way and says I must have known that she has always been scared of me. I honestly didn’t know. [the woman] keeps saying that this has all been going on since she was thirteen. She’s told you that and you were justly horrified, and she keeps reiterating that to me no matter what I said to the contrary. She says admiring her and telling she looked lovely in her bathing suit was just the same as physically molesting her. I didn’t know. Nothing took place in a physical way until we had moved to Highlands. I think about 1983 or 84 was the first time. I can pinpoint a date was 1986, because I remember I was in pantomime at Richmond. When I see the misery I have caused [the woman] I am sickened by myself. You can’t go back and change things that you have done in this life – I wish to god I could.

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When I came to Norfolk, spent that time with [the woman] and realised the enormity of what I had done to [the woman], and how I had affected her whole life, I begged her for forgiveness and she said ‘I forgive you.’ Whether she really meant it or not, I don’t know. I hope she did, but I fear she can never forgive me. I find it hard to like myself in any way, shape or form. And as I do these Animal programmes, I see the unconditional love that dogs give to their owners and I wish could start to love myself again. If there is any way that I could atone for what I have done I would willingly do it. If there is a way I can start to help [the woman] to heal herself, I would willingly do it. With your permission I’ll phone you in a week to talk to you. If you hang up, I will understand, but I would like to talk to you to apologise for betraying your trust and for unwittingly so harming your darling. I know that what I did was wrong but we are, all of us, fallible and oh how I deluded myself. Please forgive me, love Rolf.

Please forgive me for what must have been the most insensitive thing in your eyes- sending the book for Christmas – Alwen knows nothing about all this – at the time and rather than tell her I signed the book and wrote the platitudes with sinking heart. Forgive me.”

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