Sydenham's Rolf Harris 'abused teen while daughter asleep in same room'

News Shopper: Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court

Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris, who lived in Sydenham in the 1960s and 1970s, abused a teenage girl while his own daughter was asleep in the same room, a court has heard.

One of the 84-year-old's alleged victims told Southwark Crown Court that Harris appeared to get "a thrill" out of indecently assaulting her while his daughter Bindi was present.

Describing how he allegedly put his fingers inside her before performing oral sex on her, she said: "He didn't feel inhibited, I think he got a thrill out of it".

Asked why she thought this, she said: "By the look on his face, looking over at Bindi and just carrying on."

Giving evidence from behind a curtain, the woman claimed that 84-year-old Harris - who is accused of a string of indecent assaults between 1968 and 1986 - first abused her during a holiday in Hawaii when she was 13, touching her when she had just got out of the shower and was wrapped only in a towel.

She said that as she stood in the towel during the trip in 1978: "He just came over and gave me one of his big hugs and tickles."

While her family gave each other "proper hugs", the woman said the way Harris embraced her was "a bit creepy".

She told the jury of six women and six men: "The way he hugged you and touched you all over, it was cringey.

"The way Rolf folded himself around you, he was a big man...he enfolded you in his arms and then touched you up and down over your body. He'd go 'ooh'."

After Harris allegedly indecently touched her, the woman told the packed court he "pretended as if nothing had happened and said 'See you downstairs'."

Harris, sitting in the glass-walled dock, looked down at the floor as he listened to proceedings through a hearing loop, taking notes at some points, while wife Alwen was among relatives in the packed public gallery, along with dozens of journalists.

Describing the aftermath of the first alleged attack, the woman told jurors: "I was shocked and panicked by it because I didn't know what to do. I thought 'I don't know quite what's happened here but whatever it is, it's not good'.

"I just sat on the edge of the bed in a state of shock, really."

The alleged incident is not included among charges that Harris faces, because it happened abroad before such offences could be prosecuted in the UK.

But the woman is named on seven of the 12 indecent assault charges against the artist and musician, all of which he denies. She claims that Harris went on to abuse her for a number of years.

The woman, who jurors have heard was a friend of Harris's daughter Bindi, said he struck again during the same holiday, fondling her crotch as he wrapped a towel round her on the beach just a few feet from where his wife and daughter were sunbathing.

Asked why she did not tell them or shout out, she said: "I was a very shy child, excruciatingly shy really, and I just hadn't got the guts to shout out and I thought, well, if you shout out it will cause mayhem anyway. It was Bindi's dad and Alwen's husband."

Later in the same holiday, she was again fondled by Harris while she was wearing her bikini, the woman claimed, and alleged that he later told her that the bikini she wore on that holiday had "always turned him on".

The alleged victim, who described being scared of Harris from an early age, said on one occasion she woke up to hear the "clicking of a camera" and found him taking photographs of her.

She said she "buried" the alleged holiday assaults after coming back to the UK, and later began drinking, "swigging" glasses of gin and tonic water when her parents were not around.

The woman told the jury she was "a bit confused and angry", saying: "I was anxious and very panicky and that's why I started to drink."

"Just his sheer presence worried me, just him being in the close vicinity."

By the time she was 15 she had started drinking to cope with the anxiety, the woman told the court, and if she knew she might see Harris she would drink a "shed load of gin".

"It would calm me right down, stop my heart beating, and stop my anxiety," she told jurors.

Four of the counts on the indictment against Harris allege that he indecently assaulted the girl when she was 15 by putting his fingers in her vagina; two relate to allegations that he performed a sex act on her against her will before she was 16; and one relates to an occasion when he allegedly indecently assaulted her in a swimming pool when she was 19.

The woman described two occasions when during a visit to her home, Harris allegedly cornered her and put his hand inside her trousers and underwear, indecently assaulting her.

She said there was no small talk from Harris before the alleged assaults, and said on one of the occasions he continued to touch her as she tried to walk away.

The woman felt anxious and "panicky" when she went to stay at the Harris home in Bray, but said she "could not contemplate" not seeing her friend Bindi.

She described how on one occasion he came into the room where she was alone in bed, and touched her before performing a sex act on her.

"I can't remember how long, it seemed like a long time, and I pretended to orgasm so he would stop, which he did," she said.

She said on another occasion Harris did the same thing - but while Bindi was asleep in the same room.

Harris, wearing a dark grey suit with a pink shirt and striped, multi-coloured tie, remained impassive as the alleged victim gave evidence, while wife Alwen also showed no visible emotion.

The court heard that the performer also masturbated in front of the alleged victim.

She said: "He came in and got his penis out, which was very small, very very small, and started to fondle himself."

It is claimed that he pushed the girl's head towards his penis.

The woman, who said she left school at 16, said she had started to become "distant".

She said: "I felt it was all my fault - what took place between me and Rolf - because I didn't stop him. I should have shouted and screamed.

"I just felt really low and all my self-confidence went."

Describing another alleged incident when she and her mother visited the Harris home when she was 19, she said she was swimming in the pool while her mother talked with Alwen, when he came home and got in with her.

The women left them alone, and Harris indecently assaulted her again, she told the court.

Asked if she had consented to the encounter with the entertainer, she said: "I let him do it, I didn't want him to, but I let him do it like all the other times."

She added: "I think I had it in my mind that it would be written all over my face that something had gone on, and I would go red and be embarrassed."

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