Rolf Harris: New Zealand woman makes formal complaint against jailed entertainer

Lee Howden said she had come forward  because she felt for the young victims of Harris

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The Independent Online

A New Zealand woman has made a formal complaint to police regarding allegations that she was assaulted by the disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris.

The 84-year-old Harris was jailed last week for five years and nine months for a string of indecent assaults against girls as young as seven or eight.

Lee Howden, a make-up artist from Christchurch, told Radio New Zealand that Harris allegedly assaulted her when he was in the city for a television appearance almost 30 years ago. 

She said the incident in the 1980s when she was in her late 20s had left her in “total shock”.

And Howden said she had decided to speak out now because she felt for the young victims of Harris, whom she described as “a total narcissist in denial”. 

“He may have only got a couple of years, but he has given them a life sentence,” Howden said.

“And I guess what’s made me really cross is his inability to apologise to those young women.”

Asked whether she wanted justice for herself, Howden said: “It's not so much justice for me, although yes I do feel like a victim.

”But I was in my late twenties - I want justice for those young women.”

Howden will have a formal interview with police next week.

Her allegations come in the same week that National MP and former broadcaster Maggie Barry revealed that Harris groped her in a recording studio.

Barry said she was “outraged” by the assualt and stopped Harris in his tracks, according to The New Zealand Herald.

The MP has encouraged other victims of Harris to make a formal complaint to police – she said more than a dozen women from the country have approached her to say they  too were sexually assaulted. 

But she said she will not be making a formal complaint herself.

“I felt I dealt with it at the time. Basically I faced him down, he apologised and that's why we did the interview,” Barry said.

"I guess having stood up and called him a sleazy creep and all the rest of it I felt like I'd got it out of my system, made my point and stood up to him.

“He didn't do to me what he did to seven and eight-year-old girls, obviously.”

She added: “While I was horrified and surprised, because I'd always quite liked his programmes on telly, he said he was sorry. It didn't occur to me to take it further. I didn't feel I needed to speak out about it.”

New Zealand police are encouraging any women with complaints against Harris to come forward.