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

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Flat out: Michael Flatley will return to the stage in his show Lord Of The Dance
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape