Rolf Harris sex trial: Alleged victim had ‘great day’ while on holiday with the entertainer and his family, her diary says
Woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denied 'sexual chemistry'
Paul Gallagher is a reporter for the Independent and Independent on Sunday having joined the group in 2012. He has previously worked for the European Voice, Daily Mirror and the Observer and been based in Brussels, Belfast, Tokyo and London.
Tuesday 13 May 2014
The teenage diary of a woman who claims she suffered years of abuse by Rolf Harris describes a “great” day spent with the entertainer and his family during a holiday to Hawaii in which she claims he sexually assaulted her for the first time, a court has heard.
The childhood friend of the cartoonist’s daughter Bindi admitted under cross-examination at Southwark Crown Court that she had a happy beach holiday in the 1970s when she was 13, and was accused of inventing the alleged attacks. The woman, now in her 40s, claims Mr Harris touched her intimately when she stepped out of a shower and she was assaulted again on the beach while Mr Harris’s wife and daughter were only a few feet away.
The Australian entertainer and artist is accused of indecently assaulting four girls, aged between seven or eight and 19, from 1968 to 1986.
The alleged victim giving evidence is named on seven of the 12 counts of indecent assault, all of which Mr Harris denies.
Her entry for the first full day in Hawaii said: “Today was great because we went on the beach and went swimming.”
Sonia Woodley QC, defending, asked the woman: “No mention in the diary or any hint of anything which had happened to you at the hands of Rolf Harris, is there?”
She replied: “I wouldn’t have put it in the diary… It was great up until the point where he got the towel out, put it round me and fondled me. I wouldn’t have put that in the diary. I would have made it sound better in the diary. If anyone saw my diary I wouldn’t want them to think I had an awful time.”
When asked if it was “a happy holiday” for her, the alleged victim replied: “Basically, yes it was.” She said that Bindi and Mr Harris’s wife, Alwen Hughes, would not have noticed she was upset because she “didn’t show it”.
The alleged assaults abroad happened before such offences abroad could be prosecuted in the UK, so are not among the charges against Mr Harris.
However, the woman said that after the holiday in Hawaii Mr Harris continued to abuse her for a number of years, which drove her to alcoholism. She was asked about an alleged assault during a visit to the Harris family at their home in Bray, Berkshire, when she was 18. She claimed Mr Harris performed a sex act on her after bringing her a cup of tea in the morning.
However, Ms Woodley claimed “sexual chemistry” had developed between the pair and that the witness went on to have a consensual sexual relationship with the entertainer when she was an adult.
Describing an alleged incident at the woman’s home when she was 28 or 29, the woman told the court she had only invited Mr Harris there because she wanted to talk to him about Bindi. Ms Woodley asked the woman why she did not tell Mr Harris “mind your own business” when he asked where her bedroom was. The witness replied: “I was drunk at the time. I was frightened. I never said no to him.”
The case continues.
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