Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris has been found guilty of indecent assault, in a trial at Southwark Crown Court.
The 84-year-old was today convicted of 12 crimes committed between 1968 and 1986 after the jury deliberated for a mammoth 37 hours and 45 minutes before reaching unanimous verdicts.
He will be sentenced on Friday with trial judge Mr Justice Sweeney telling the court that a prison term was “uppermost in the court’s mind”.
The central allegation concerned a friend of Harris’s daughter Bindi, whom the court was told Harris groomed and molested from the age of 13 until she was 19, including once when his daughter was asleep in the same room. In his own evidence Harris admitted a relationship with the woman, but said it began after she turned 18.
The other victims ranged in age, with testimonies insisting that they were touched or groped by Harris.
On one count a woman said Harris touched her inappropriately when she was just seven or eight while he was signing autographs in Hampshire in the late 1960s.
A further count accused Harris of groping a teenage waitress’s bottom at a charity event in Cambridge in the 1970s. In another, Australian Tonya Lee, who waived her right to anonymity, said he fondled her three times on one day while she was on a theatre group trip to the UK at the age of 15.
In a statement, the NSPCC says it is “delighted” to have helped to uncover “the dark side” of Harris, who it says “hid behind his happy-go-lucky persona”.
Known for classic songs including Stairway to Heaven, Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport, Sun Arise and Two Little Boys, Harris is also equally famous as an artist and fronted BBC shows including Animal Hospital and Rolf Harris Cartoon Time.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.