News World ‘Aggressive groper’ women claim

‘Aggressive groper’ women claim

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Two women have described how Rolf Harris “forcefully” and “firmly” groped them in the 1960s and 1970s, respectively, with both saying they developed such an aversion to the entertainer afterwards they avoided watching him on TV.

The women, the second and third of Harris’s accusers, gave evidence at a London court for the first time on Thursday.

The first said the Australian indecently assaulted her in the late 1960s at a community centre near Portsmouth after he’d performed the song Two Little Boys.

The then seven or eight-year-old girl had approached the star for his signature.

“He was looking at me smiling,” the woman, now 52, told Southwark Crown Court.

“I was smiling, excited, and out of nowhere I felt his hand go down my back and up between my legs.”

She initially thought it may have been an accident but then the famous children’s entertainer did it again.

The alleged victim said Harris’s hand – which she described as “big and hairy” – instantly went “straight up between my legs quite aggressively and forcefully”.

She said she felt scared and desperately wanted to get away.

Later in life, whenever Harris appeared on the TV, she had to switch it off.

After marrying in the mid-1980s she explained to her husband, and later their children, why she wouldn’t watch his shows.

“I said Rolf Harris is a dirty old man. He put his hands on my bottom and between my legs when I was a little girl.”

The prosecution then read out a statement from the woman’s now ex-husband.

“Because of what happened to (the alleged victim) our children were not allowed to watch Rolf Harris when they were growing up,” he said.

Defence lawyer Sonia Woodley QC on Thursday suggested Harris had never been to the community centre and wasn’t there on the day in question.

But the 52-year-old insisted she had met Harris.

The third alleged victim also gave evidence on Thursday.

She was 13 or 14 and working as a waitress in a marquee at a celebrity event in Cambridge in the mid-1970s.

After hearing the sound of dogs barking she went outside to investigate and saw Harris crouched down on all fours.

“There was a terrier-type dog in front of him and they were both barking at each other,” the witness, now 52, said.

A crowd was watching the “funny scene” and the teenager was slightly awestruck.

Then Harris came over and put his arm around her.

“His arm then moved up and down my back and his hand went over my bottom,” the woman said.

“It (his hand) was very firm and he squeezed it a few times. It was basically like groping.”

The woman said she was embarrassed and froze. Harris, however, didn’t appear troubled.

Ms Woodley on Thursday suggested it wasn’t Harris that touched her.

But the witness said it was “without a doubt”.

She said she still has “a physical reaction” whenever she sees Harris on the television or in a newspaper.

“I can’t bear seeing any image of him,” she said.

Both witnesses on Thursday gave evidence from behind a curtain.

The court has previously heard from the first complainant in the case who was a childhood friend of Harris’s daughter Bindi.

She claims Harris abused her from the age of 13.

The 84-year-old admits an “affair” with her but insists it started when she was an adult.

Harris is accused of indecently assaulting four girls between 1968 and 1986. He denies all the charges.

The trial continues on Monday.