News World Blind, disabled woman tells of fighting off Rolf Harris in a hospital

Blind, disabled woman tells of fighting off Rolf Harris in a hospital

rolf harris
A court sketch of Rolf Harris from the hearing into seven sexual assault allegations. Photo: ABC/Supplied
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A London court has heard that Australian entertainer Rolf Harris took advantage of a blind and disabled woman, indecently assaulting her from behind at a hospital.

The woman’s police interview was played in court as evidence in the trial where Harris is facing seven charges of indecent assault and one of sexual assault.

The 86-year-old is pleading not guilty to all charges.

The woman who is now in her 60s, said she met Harris at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London in 1977, when she was recovering from having an eye removed.

The woman said she went to shake hands with the entertainer when the alleged assault began.

“Within seconds he was behind me, leaning right across me, and he starts by kissing me on the back of my neck and I can feel the hot air from his nostrils coming down my neck and he’s obviously getting more excited by what he’s doing by the frequency of his breathing,” she said.

“And I can feel his beard tickling the back of my neck and he says, ‘you are gorgeous … you are a lovely woman’, and he starts slobbering all over me.”

The woman said she repeatedly told Harris to stop, but he refused, saying that he was a “touchy feely sort of bloke”.

The woman who was not only blind at the time, but relied on walking sticks to get around, said she felt trapped.

Rolf Harris court sketch
Court sketch of judge Alistair McCreath, prosecutor Jonathan Rees (left) and defence barrister Stephen Vullo at Southwark Crown Court in London. Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA

“I can’t push the chair back because his body weight is leaning forward so I can’t move and I’m thrashing my head around to stop him kissing my neck,” she said.

The woman claimed Harris went on to put his hand down her skirt, feel her bottom and repeatedly touch her breasts and nipples.

She likened the entertainer to an octopus.

“Rolf Harris doesn’t ask permission,” she said.

I just could not escape, and being blind, I couldn’t really tell where he was, and I couldn’t get up. I was completely and utterly trapped.”

The woman said the alleged assault lasted around 10 minutes.

She came forward to police in 2014 after seeing media coverage of Harris’s initial indecent assault trial.

“When all this was coming out about Rolf Harris,” she said, “I found myself yelling at the TV saying ‘you evil bastard because I know what you did to me'”.

The defence is expected to call a witness who was in the hospital room at the time of the alleged assault, but does not recall the incident as described by the woman.

– ABC 


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