Rolf Harris says he felt sickened by his own actions.
Rolf Harris says he felt sickened by his own actions. INM

Rolf Harris says he was 'sickened' by sex with young women

ROLF Harris was "sickened" by his own behaviour, he told the court today, after admitting a string of sexual encounters with his daughter's teenage best friend but repeatedly denied abusing her as a child.

The veteran entertainer, who has been married for 56 years, detailed seven occasions from sexual touching to full sex from the witness box but said they had been consensual encounters with the "flirtatious" and "coquettish" teenager and claimed that she had initiated their sexual relationship.

He said that the woman, 35 years his junior, had been a willing participant in encounters that spanned a decade until their acrimonious break-up when she accused him of abusing her from the age of 13, Southwark Crown Court was told.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has previously told the court that the entertainer first touched her while on holiday with the Harris family in the late 1970s, sparking a descent into alcoholism during her 20s.

Giving evidence for the first time, Mr Harris also admitted to an affair with a woman in her 30s after she moved into a small house at the bottom of his garden that was built for his daughter.

The Australian-born artist and musician said that affair began when the woman ferried him to pantomime performances where he was playing Baron Hardup and ended when she had to move for specialist treatment for breast cancer.

"I didn't feel good about it," Mr Harris said of the affair.

It emerged that Mr Harris was spotted by members of the jury sketching from the dock on Friday.

The pictures have been taken away and destroyed, Mr Justice Sweeney told the jury.

During a day of evidence watched by members of his family including his wife Alwen, Mr Harris sang the lyrics of one of his best-known songs, Jake the Peg, described his invention of the "wobble board" and detailed his rise from obscurity to receive a string of honours and a commission to paint the Queen's portrait.

However, his voice dropped to murmur as he spoke about his sex life and how he had cheated on his Welsh wife.

"I felt that I had betrayed everybody: my wife, my daughter and betrayed [the woman's] parents," he said.

"I betrayed their trust because I had had an affair with their daughter who was much younger than me. I felt I had betrayed everybody."

Mr Harris described himself as a touch-feely person but denied his victim's allegations that he touched her at age 13 after she emerged from a shower and on the beach in Hawaii as having "never happened".

He claimed that the sexual relationship started when the woman stayed at his home in Bray, Berks, when visiting Mr Harris's daughter and he took her a cup of tea in bed.

Mr Harris, wearing a pin-stripe suit and purple tie, said that he touched her leg.

"I can remember my heart was thumping away. I didn't know what to do. I got up and left her there with a cup of tea."

Mr Harris went on to detail six other occasions including attempting to have full sex with the woman at his daughter's home where he stayed the night after appearing in pantomime in Devon.

He also claimed that she gave him oral sex while giving her a lift home.

He said that he saw her in Norfolk in the 1990s when she beat him with her fists and took him to a pub where she complained loudly that he abused her as a child, he told the court.

He claimed that she also warned that her brother would go to the newspapers with the story. "I felt sickened by myself because I could see the state she was in and how low she had got through the drinking," he said.

Mr Harris, from Bray, in Berks, denies 12 counts of indecent assault on four alleged victims over 18 years from 1968.

The case continues.

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