A woman has told a London court she used “the F-word” to an adult for the first time when Rolf Harris groped her at a celebrity sports event when she was 16 years old.
The woman, now aged in her 50’s, told Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday that she was assigned to be a “gopher” for the entertainer at the “Star Games” in the English city of Cambridge, in mid-1978.
She is one of seven complainants in the trial of the 86-year-old entertainer who has denied indecently assaulting them between 1971 and 2004 when they were aged between 12 and 42.
Harris, in a suit and tie, watched proceedings on Tuesday by video-link from Stafford Prison where he’s serving time after being convicted of similar offences in 2014.
The woman told the court her job as volunteer helper at the Star Games was to stick with Harris to guide him to scheduled events and to run errands for him.
She said she was wearing a pink polo-neck jumper “which was a really daft thing to wear on a hot day”.
The woman said at one point Harris put his arm around her and his hand went up the side of her body and stroked her breast.
“It made me jump, I just knew it was deliberate,” she said.
The woman said Harris did it a second time, this time lifting the weight of her breast and making her realise he wasn’t the man of his show business profile.
“He pulled me much closer and this time he put his hand right on my breast and squeezed.
“He said something like, ‘you’re a little bit irresistible’, and that was horrible,” The woman told the court.
“My period was due and my breasts were really tender and hurt me, and that’s why I remember it so well.”
The woman said she was very upset that Harris had groped her but she felt obliged as his helper to get into the back of a taxi with him to be ferried to the next event.
She said Harris then put his left hand between her legs and when she closed them he forcefully slid it up her jeans to her crotch, prompting her to pull his hand away.
“It was the first time in my life I used the F-word at an adult. I told him to f*** off, and then I was cross. I remember feeling very sick.”
The woman said that when she got home she told her father that the entertainer was “a dirty old man”, prompting her father to joke that she shouldn’t have worn her pink jumper.
She said she wouldn’t have known how to make an official complaint against Harris at the time.
In the years since she told the court she always avoided watching Harris on television and told people he was “a groper” and a “dirty old man”.
“He’s a fraud and I wanted people to know that.”
Breaking into tears under cross-examination by defence lawyer Stephen Vullo, the woman denied exaggerating the incident, saying it was humiliating to retell in public and the offence was made worse by Harris’s celebrity status.
– AAP London Correspondent