17 Jan 2017

Rolf Harris 'preyed' on blind and disabled woman, court told

6:26 pm on 17 January 2017

A blind and disabled woman who alleges she was indecently assaulted by the Australian entertainer Rolf Harris in the 1970s has described him as a hawk who viewed her as his prey.

The woman, now in her 60s, has given evidence at Mr Harris's trial in a London court.

Rolf Harris

A woman has described how children's entertainer Rolf Harris allegedly forced himself on her. Photo: AFP

Mr Harris, 86, has pleaded not guilty to seven historic charges of indecent assault and one of sexual assault relating to seven different women between 1971 and 2004.

The blind woman said she met him at a London eye hospital in 1977, when she was recovering from having an eye removed.

She said within seconds he was putting his hands all over her and forcing himself on her, despite her pleas for him to stop.

"He was putting his hands all over me, then he dropped to his knees, then he put his full body weight against my chair," she told the court.

"I tried to push the chair back but I didn't have any hope. I just couldn't move the chair, and then he was slobbering all over my neck and breathing all over my neck to the extent I could feel the heat of his nostrils.

"He was obviously getting very sexually aroused because he was pushing against the chair."

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

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

She likened the entertainer to an octopus.

"It was like a hawk pouncing on its prey, and that's what he did to me."

The woman said the alleged assault lasted around 10 minutes.

"Rolf Harris doesn't ask permission," she said.

"I thought I was the only person... I wasn't"

The woman made a report to police in 2014 after watching media coverage of Harris' first trial for indecent assault.

"I found myself yelling at the TV saying 'You evil bastard, because I know what you did to me'," she told the court.

Under cross-examination the woman denied that she was making up the allegations for financial gain.

She admitted to struggling financially for many years because of her disability, and confirmed that she did ask a police officer about her entitlement to compensation after the trial.

But the woman said she was not trying to prey on Mr Harris' ruined reputation in the wake of his earlier convictions.

"The reason I'm here is I thought I was the only person, and then I realised I wasn't," she said.

"I was so shocked and incensed by it I really wanted justice to be done."

The defence also played the jury a recording of the woman and Mr Harris laughing and singing together around two hours after the alleged assault.

"I know how it would seem," the woman told the court.

"But I can assure you [the assault] happened. When you see Rolf as he is there, you would never believe he's the same person.

"He has so much to give, and he's wasted it all."

The next witness to be called is a man who was in the hospital room at the time of the alleged assault.

He is expected to tell the jury that he did not see the alleged assault happen.


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