Rolf Harris

The entertainer and convicted pedophile, Rolf Harris, has died peacefully at his home in Bray, Berkshire aged 93.

30 March 1930 – 10 May 2023. Died of neck cancer and frailty of old age
(photo credit Adelaide Now)

In order for a dignified funeral to take place with family and friends, away from the cameras of the press, the death of Rolf Harris was only announced on 23 May 2023.

This entry from Wikipedia is an accurate and balanced report of his career as a world entertainer, TV personality, successful musician, singer, comedian, actor, and painter.

He will, however, be remembered as the disgraced convicted pedophile who, until his dying day, refused to admit his guilt or show any remorse for his actions.

Harris was born in Australia and moved to England in 1952, the year in which Elizabeth II became Queen.

There were always rumours.

Although there were always rumours of groping and indecent assaults, he was only arrested following an investigation by London’s Metropolitan Police, Operation Yewtree, into Jimmy Savile’s assaults and rapes of young girls. That operation started in October 2012 and Rolf Harris was arrested in March 2013.

He was sentenced to 5 years and 7 months imprisonment but served just under 3 years of the sentence. An appeal by the prosecution that the length of the prison term was too lenient was turned down by the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright.

Rolf Harris’ home on the banks of the River Thames in Berkshire.
(photo credit. Daily Express)

Rolf Harris never apologised to his victims. The Court made him pay all the costs of the prosecution but made no order for compensation to his victims.

His estate, on his death, was estimated at £16 million.

Harris was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) in 1968 by the Queen, elevated to an OBE in 1977, and finally made a Commander (CBE) in 2006.
Two universities in the UK gave Rolf Harris honorary doctorates.

Although all these awards have now been cancelled, they show how much he was respected by the UK establishment. I feel this was the main reason why the police initially turned a blind eye to his activities, and made people reluctant to make complaints about his conduct. They realised they were unlikely to be believed.

He had been invited to perform in Buckingham Palace several times, and particularly at the monarch’s 80th birthday celebrations. He was commissioned to paint the Queen’s portrait.

Although Harris made very few comments in Court, he did try to explain the relationship he had with his daughter’s teenage friend.

“I fondly imagined that everything that had taken place had progressed from a feeling of love and friendship. There was no rape, no physical forcing, brutality, or beating of any kind.”

Always the Showman.

Harris’s appearance in the witness box was, in part, a reminiscence about his long career as a singer and cartoonist that was designed to entertain the jury.

“In 1959,” said Woodley, his defence barrister, “did you invent something called the wobbleboard?” Harris said he had done. He then proceeded to sing a few lines of his 1965 hit, “Jake the Peg” to a startled courtroom.

Rolf’s daughter, Bindi, put on a show of support for her father when he made his way to Court. But that was just for the press photographers. She went home straight afterwards, and did not enter the courtroom.

The Assaults on Bindi’s Teenage Friend.

The assaults started when Harris was on a family holiday in Hawaii, when the girl was just 13 years old. They lasted until she was 20. She said that, when she was 29, she had developed a drink problem because of the stress and trauma that he was causing. She claims that she met with him and hit him several times on the head, and made him walk around the village so that everyone would recognise him.

Asked about the claim that he had assaulted the girl while his daughter had been asleep in the same room, Harris denied it and told the court: “She’s said all sorts of things that if it wasn’t so serious would have been laughable.”

After the confrontation in the village, Harris never spoke to the woman again, but wrote a pleading letter to her father:
“I would like to talk to you to apologise for betraying your trust and for unwittingly so harming your darling [daughter]. I know that what I did was wrong, but we are, all of us, fallible and oh how I deluded myself. Please forgive me, love Rolf.”

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