Harris gets jail sentence of five years nine months

Harris showed no remorse 'at all', said Justice Sweeney. Photo / AP
Harris showed no remorse 'at all', said Justice Sweeney. Photo / AP

Rolf Harris' disgrace is complete. The veteran entertainer has been jailed for five years and nine months for 12 sexual assaults on girls and young women.

The 84-year-old was told he would be released after half that period - aged 88 - when he would be placed on Britain's sex offenders' register.

Watch: Children's TV star Rolf Harris jailed for sex assaults

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Before Harris learned his fate it emerged police had found indecent images of children on his home computer.

Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said officers found 33 such photos in a larger collection of adult pornographic images.

The charges were dropped amid fears the CPS could be considered "oppressive" in light of Harris' convictions for indecent assault.

Read also: I was groped by Rolf Harris, says National MP Maggie Barry

The Australian-born children's entertainer, artist and songwriter was on Monday found guilty of 12 charges of assault on four girls and young women aged 7 to 19 between 1968 and 1986.

Harris, who took a small suitcase into the dock, was greeted by a media scrum at Southwark Crown Court in London. His wife, Alwen, who supported him through his trial, was absent.

Justice Nigel Sweeney said the attacks were a "breach of trust", especially for the main victim - a childhood friend of Harris' daughter Bindi.

Before the sentence was delivered the court was read harrowing victim impact statements.
Bindi's friend said the abuse had left her feeling "dirty, grubby and disgusting".

The woman, now 49, said after she was first abused, aged 13, she'd had panic attacks and started drinking.

Have you ever encountered Harris in NZ? Email newsdesk@nzherald.co.nz.

Australian Tonya Lee was assaulted by Harris when she visited London in 1986 aged 15. The incident was a "turning point" from which she never recovered.

"What Mr Harris took from me was my very essence."

Defence lawyer Sonia Woodley QC had asked the court for leniency, saying Harris was on "borrowed time".

"He has a limited lifespan left and that will be diminished by a prison sentence due to the state of his health."

The barrister said the attacks were "opportunistic rather than predatory" and said Harris had no prior convictions.

The 84-year-old showed no reaction when he heard the sentence.

Harris was convicted on Monday of 12 indecent assaults against four young girls in the UK between 1968 and 1986.

Read also: Two faces of child entertainer and abuser

Justice Nigel Sweeney on Friday said the verdicts of the jury showed Harris "was a sex offender" during the period in question.

"You took advantage of the trust placed in you because of your celebrity status," the judge said at Southwark Crown Court.

"You got a thrill from committing the offences while others were present or nearby."

Justice Sweeney said Harris had shown no remorse for the crimes "at all".

"Your reputation lies in ruins," he said.

"You have no-one to blame but yourself."

Harris will immediately be taken to Wandsworth prison in south west London. He'll then be transferred at a later date to a lower-security facility.

The convicted sexual predator arrived at court on Friday prepared for jail with a colourful striped suitcase. He had the medium-size suitcase with him in the dock as Justice Sweeney handed down the sentence.


- AAP

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