Rolf Harris sex trial: Girl tells court that veteran entertainer gave 'creepy' hugs before indecently assaulting her on holiday when she was 13
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is the first witness to give evidence in the entertainer's trial
Monday 12 May 2014
A woman has told a court that veteran entertainer Rolf Harris would give her 'creepy' hugs before indecently assaulting her during a holiday in Hawaii when she was 13.
The 49-year-old woman, who was giving evidence from behind a curtain at Southwark Crown Court in London, alleged the 84-year-old touched her without warning when she had just got out of the shower and was wrapped in only a towel, during the trip in 1978.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is the first witness to give evidence in the entertainer's trial.
She is a childhood friend of Mr Harris' daughter, Bindi.
She told the jury of six women and six men: "The way he hugged you and touched you all over, it was cringey.
"The way Rolf folded himself around you, he was a big man...he enfolded you in his arms and then touched you up and down over your body. He'd go 'ooh'." She claims he groped her.
After the claimed assault, the alleged victim said: "He... pretended as if nothing had happened and said 'See you downstairs'." She told the jury that Mr Harris told her she was "lovely".
Harris, sitting in the glass-walled dock, looked down at the floor as he listened to proceedings through a hearing loop.
The woman said: "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'. I just sat on the edge of the bed in a state of shock, really."
The alleged incident is not included among charges that Harris faces, because it happened abroad before such offences could be prosecuted in the UK.
But the woman is named on seven of the 12 indecent assault charges against the artist and musician, all of which he denies. She claims that Harris went on to abuse her for a number of years.
The woman told the court that on another occasion during the same holiday Mr Harris abused her by fondling her crotch as he wrapped a towel round her on the beach.
She said the star's wife and daughter were sunbathing "a few feet away" when he put his hand inside the towel, and down her bikini bottoms.
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."
Later in the same holiday, she alleges she was again fondled by Harris while she was wearing her bikini.
The woman, who jurors have heard went on to have a number of sexual encounters with Harris until her late 20s, claims he told her later that the bikini she wore on that holiday had "always turned him on".
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. The woman told the jury she was "a bit confused and angry".
She said of the alleged abuse: "It just made me panic more. I was anxious and very panicky and that's why I started to drink."
She told the court that it would make her feel "anxious and panic-stricken" when she knew she might see Mr Harris, and that his "sheer presence" worried her.
Mr Harris, from Bray in Berkshire, entered a not guilty plea at an earlier hearing. The case continues.
Additional reporting by the Press Association
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
- 1 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala