Rolf Harris trial: Entertainer 'assaulted seven-year-old girl as she waited for an autograph'

The woman, now aged in her 50s, claimed that the entertainer touched her “aggressively and forcefully”

Crime Correspondent

Rolf Harris groped a girl as young as seven she queued excitedly for an autograph after he performed his hit song ‘Two Little Boys’ at a community centre, a court heard today.

The woman, now aged in her 50s, claimed that the entertainer touched her “aggressively and forcefully” between her legs after he signed her piece of paper at the centre near Portsmouth, the court was told.

The woman – who gave evidence behind a screen – said that her “life changed that day” and later told members of her family that the entertainer was a “dirty old man” who had touched her as a child.

Asked about her memories, she said: “I can hear a song or something from that era and go straight back. I can shut my eyes and go straight back.“

The incident was said to have happened between 1968 and 1970 when the girl got to the front of the queue of children to get the autograph. She said she was seven or eight at the time, Southwark Crown Court was told.

”He scared me because he was looking at me all the time. His eyes were fixed and I kind of backed away, and I sat on a chair trying to process what was going on and looking at him carrying on as if nothing had happened,” the woman told the court.

“He was looking at me, smiling, and I was smiling, looking excited, and suddenly out of nowhere I felt his hand go down the back and up between my legs,” the woman told the court.

Rolf Harris denies 12 counts of indecent assault She said she thought the first time might have been an accident, but claimed he did it a second time “aggressively”.

“It was very quick,” the woman said. “In fact so quick that I thought, 'what's happened?' The first time I thought, no, not deliberate. I thought, 'what's going on?', because there were a lot of people around and I didn't process what had happened.

”He seemed such a nice man, I thought probably it was just an accident,” the woman said. “It didn't matter if it was going to hurt me or not. It felt very aggressive and I knew that it wasn't an accident,” she said.

The woman, who is 52, said she thought, “Whoa, I just need to get away”. Breaking down, she told the court she “wasn't the same child” after the alleged abuse.

When Harris was named as having been arrested under sex crimes inquiry Operation Yewtree in the Sun newspaper in April last year, she sent her husband a text message to say, “I told you so”, the court heard.

Harris is accused of a total of 12 counts of indecent assault on four alleged victims between 1968 and 1986. He denies the charges.

The case continues

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?

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore