Entertainer’s light sentence draws criticism and civil claims may follow

Rolf Harris has spent his first night in a London jail as child advocates in Australia criticised the sex offender's sentence as too lenient.

The 84-year-old was immediately sent to Wandsworth Prison in southwest London after being sentenced to five years and nine months' jail for a string of indecent assaults against four girls in the UK.

He'll only have to serve half that sentence, however, meaning he'll be released in less than three years.

Former Hey Dad! star and Bravehearts ambassador, Sarah Monahan, criticised the sentence as "way too light".

Advertisement

"It saddens me you get more time for money offences than you do for crimes against children," she wrote on her Facebook page.

Monahan said the parallels between the Harris sentencing and that of Australian actor Robert Hughes — her on-screen father who assaulted her and three other young girls during the 1980s and 1990s — "astound me".

Hughes was sentenced in May to 10 years and nine months' jail but could be released in six years.

In sentencing Harris at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, Justice Nigel Sweeney said: "You have shown no remorse for your crimes at all."

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston said that was to be expected. "The remorse would be a lie anyway," Johnston told AAP.

"It's a selfish act to hurt a child. You can't do it unless you have a lack of empathy. He's ignorant, self-absorbed and an egomaniac. I think his victims feel vindicated. I don't think they expected remorse from a man like him."

Video: Rolf Harris jailed for sex assaults