Rolf Harris jailed for five years and nine months

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Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris, a household name in Britain and Australia for decades, was on Friday (July 4) jailed for five years and nine months by a judge in London for a string of sexual assaults against girls and young women.

The Australian-born television star, artist and songwriter, 84, was found guilty earlier this week of indecent assault against four victims between 1968 and 1986, including the best friend of his daughter Bindi.

“You have shown no remorse for your crimes at all,” judge Nigel Sweeney told Harris as he handed down his sentence at London’s Southwark Crown Court.

“Your reputation lies in ruins, you have been stripped of your honours, but you have no one to blame but yourself.”

Harris, wearing a grey suit, white shirt and multicoloured tie, showed no emotion as he heard the sentence that could see him die in prison, even if he is likely to only serve around half of the full jail term under British law.

The court had earlier heard statements from the victims in which one – Harris’ daughter’s childhood friend, said she had been traumatised by his abuse and made to feel “dirty, grubby and disgusting”.

Another victim who was abused when she was only seven or eight as she went to get Harris’ autograph, said that in those few moments her “childhood innocence was gone”.

Harris’ conviction on 12 counts of indecent assault on Monday caused widespread shock and soul-searching in Britain, where his television programmes were watched by millions of children.

There was also revulsion at his spectacular fall from grace in Australia, the home country that he left at the age of 22 but which treated him as a national hero.

Harris was the second person to be convicted under a wide-ranging police investigation set up after allegations that a fellow BBC television star, Jimmy Savile, was a prolific abuser.

Source: AFP