Rolf Harris trial: Sex case could kill my parents, says Harris' daughter

By Alice Philipson

Veteran Australian-British entertainer Rolf Harris, center, his wife Alwen Hughes, bottom, and his daughter Bindi, right, arriving at court. Photo / AP
Veteran Australian-British entertainer Rolf Harris, center, his wife Alwen Hughes, bottom, and his daughter Bindi, right, arriving at court. Photo / AP

The strain of Rolf Harris's court trial over a string of alleged sex assaults could kill him and his wife, their daughter told the jury yesterday.

"My parents are 80-something," Bindi Nicholls said. "This is appalling for them. I have had to put my whole life on hold for two years. I'm frightened they are going to die in the middle of this case."

Her appeal came after Southwark Crown Court was shown film of the entertainer appearing in Cambridge in the 1970s. Mr Harris had previously claimed that he first visited the city a few years ago.

Read more:
Video catches Rolf Harris in 'lapse of memory'
Harris tells court of affair with alleged victim
Harris caught sketching in court

Sasha Wass QC, prosecuting, claimed that he deliberately misled the jury by insisting he could not have assaulted a girl in Cambridge in the 1970s.

Jurors have heard that one of his alleged victims, then aged 14, claims he groped her bottom outside a celebrity event in Cambridge. She said he acted up for a crowd before he grabbed her.

The court was shown footage of the television show Star Games, filmed in 1978 in Cambridge, in which Harris was a team captain.

The video showed Mr Harris in a top and shorts performing a series of antics, at one stage jumping like a kangaroo.

Ms Wass said the video supported "pretty much everything" the complainant had said, apart from the date of the alleged incident.

The performer told the court he had not deliberately lied, but had forgotten about the show until he saw the video.

Mr Harris faces 12 counts of indecent assault on four women between 1968 and 1986. Seven of the charges relate to a friend of his daughter. Mrs Nicholls, 50, who has been photographed walking with her parents to court each day, denied her appearance was "staged".

She broke down in court as she told how her friend told her she had been having a consensual affair with her father from the age of 18 or 19.

She said she experienced "suicidal thoughts" after the revelation. But she said the woman never told her that her first sexual encounter with Mr Harris was when she was 13.

She also said her friend's claims that Mr Harris sexually assaulted the girl while they both slept in the same room were "sort of laughable".

The woman has told the court that Harris, 84, first groped her on holiday when she was 13. The performer has admitted having a relationship with the alleged victim but says the consensual affair began when she was 18.

Mrs Nicholls said she called her father "a bastard" when she learned of the affair. She said her friend made the confession when she told her that she suspected her father was having an affair.

This prompted an "odd" reaction, Mrs Nicholls said. "It felt like she was in love with my dad, which was just weird."

She asked if something had happened between her and her father.

She said her friend replied: "It's been going on since I was 18 or 19, Bindi."

She said she felt a "head rush" at the time. But she denied the woman's claims that it had been going on since she was 13. "No, she never said that," she said.

Asked if she had worked through the issue with her father, she told the court: "I realise we are all human."

Mr Harris denies the charges. The case continues.

- Daily Telegraph UK

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n1 at 24 Sep 2014 04:25:06 Processing Time: 788ms