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.

Read more: Rolf Harris found guilty on all 12 counts of indecent assault
Veteran 'attacked high-profile TV presenter during interview'

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.”

Video: Harris thought he was 'above the law'
Read more: Female singer 'gave Harris taste of his own medicine'
Hypocrite who warned children about paedophiles
The PR battle waged behind the scenes by Bell Pottinger
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company provides global satellite communi...

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Ashdown Group: HR Executive

£20000 - £23000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen