Rolf Harris’s legacy is not going to be as an artist who painted the Queen, or a musician who performed with The Beatles, however quite as a sexual predator who carried out many years of abuse.
Once thought of a jovial entertainer, on our screens for greater than 60 years, a high-profile trial in 2014 noticed him convicted of finishing up intercourse assaults on women as younger as seven.
Prosecutor Sasha Wass QC described Harris as a “Jekyll and Hyde” character, who, regardless of his child-friendly public picture, was a “sinister pervert” with a “demon lurking beneath his charming exterior”.
The truth his wicked actions went with out punishment for therefore lengthy provides to the trauma for a lot of of his victims, who say they are going to by no means get well.
How did his crimes go unchecked?
Again and once more, Southwark Crown Court heard concerning the giant, all-enveloping bear hug he would use to lure victims, swiftly sexually assaulting them earlier than transferring on as if nothing had occurred.
One of essentially the most damning items of proof was a letter he despatched to the daddy of one in every of his victims, through which he admitted he had a sexual relationship together with her, however denied it started when she was simply 13.
In the letter, Harris stated he was shocked when his former sufferer instructed him she had gone together with all the things he did “out of fear” and had requested her: “Why did you never just say no?”
He stated she replied: “How could [I] say no to the great television star Rolf Harris?”
Read extra: Harris, convicted paedophile who used his fame to groom younger women, dies
Harris filmed NSPCC video whereas abusing children
One early signal of his brazen self-belief could be present in an academic video titled Kids Can Say No.
Harris himself urged the security video was made, even contacting the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) to realize recommendation on the easiest way to show youngsters about stranger hazard.
Harris is now identified to have been actively abusing children on the time.
Filmed in 1985, Harris presents the 20-minute video, and tells a gaggle of major school-age youngsters, “even people you know and trust can be abusers”.
He goes on to warn them, “sometimes people do things to one another that don’t make them feel good”.
In the video’s finale, a big group of kids and adults are led by Harris in singing: “My body’s nobody’s body but mine. You’ve got your own body, let me have mine.”
Two uniformed cops make up a part of the choir.
Harris on Savile: ‘We return a very long time’
Skipping ahead seven years, and extra archive footage – this time of Harris drawing paedophile DJ Jimmy Savile in 1992 and joking “we go back a long time” – now has disturbing implications.
Savile died aged 84 in 2011, having by no means been dropped at justice for his crimes. He is now believed to be one in every of Britain’s most prolific intercourse offenders.
Harris’s 2014 trial noticed a jury of six males and 6 ladies discover him responsible of 12 counts of indecent assault on ladies and women between 1969 and 1986. One of these convictions was later overturned.
Sentenced to 5 years and 9 months in jail, he served simply three.
Harris all the time denied the accusations in opposition to him and confirmed no regret for his crimes.
Why did Harris really feel untouchable?
Described in court docket as an conceited man, who carried out lots of his assaults in plain sight, Harris appeared to imagine himself untouchable.
Born in Perth, Australia, to folks who had emigrated from Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, Harris moved to the UK in 1952.
He met his spouse Alwen, a sculptor – who stood by him all through his trial and time in jail – once they have been each artwork college students in London.
With a good expertise for portray and music, and skill to speak and entertain, it was a 10-minute artwork slot on a BBC youngsters’s programme alongside a puppet known as Fuzz that gave him the primary style of the limelight in 1953.
Swiftly embraced by British TV, he went on to entrance standard reveals together with The Rolf Harris Show, Rolf’s Cartoon Club and Rolf On Art.
A musical profession, primarily with novelty songs, noticed him prime the charts together with his cowl model of Two Little Boys resting at #1 for six weeks.
Harris’s profession defied that of many youngsters’s presenters, who wrestle to take care of reputation after progressing into extra mainstream reveals.
His 10-year stint presenting Animal Hospital from 1994 to 2004 saved him a family identify. Frequently changing into emotional about an unwell pet or injured cat, it was an empathy Harris appeared unable to supply to his victims.
Following his conviction, he wrote a tune in jail, describing his victims as money-grabbing “wenches” who wish to make him “dance”.
Harris could have wished to be remembered as a warm-hearted man who beloved animals, invented the wobble board and will draw on the velocity of sunshine.
Stripped of his CBE and BAFTA fellowship, he’ll as an alternative be remembered as a paedophile and serial sexual abuser.
Harris as soon as instructed a journalist his best worry was not being beloved.
As information of his loss of life aged 93 is met all over the world, it is a worry that has been realised, resulting from his actions – and his actions alone.