Unfair to call Harris a liar, presenter tells trial

Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris at Southwark Crown Court. Picture: PA
Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris at Southwark Crown Court. Picture: PA
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Former Crimewatch presenter Sue Cook has told a court Rolf Harris should not be accused of lying after forgetting a game-show appearance in the 1970s, because she cannot recall being in the programme either.

The writer and broadcaster, who appeared in Star Games two or three times, said celebrities were “bussed in” to a recreation area, and the city or town was “immaterial”.

She took to Twitter on Monday after seeing coverage of Harris’s indecent assault trial on television.

He had told London’s Southwark Crown Court he had never been to Cambridge until four years ago, but it later emerged he had appeared in a Star Games show there in 1978.

One alleged victim claimed the entertainer had grabbed her bottom when she was waitressing at an event there in 1975, although prosecutors say she may have got the date wrong.

Ms Cook, 65, told the court: “I said to my husband, ‘Gosh, that’s not fair – I wouldn’t have remembered it was Cambridge either’. I don’t think he can be 
accused of lying, because I can’t remember it. I was a participant in that game show, but I wouldn’t have known it was Cambridge either.”

She said she did not remember Harris having been in the same episode as her, and told the jury that, during her four decades in broadcasting, she had forgotten “loads” of events she had been to.

The presenter said that, on one occasion, her mother-in-law gave her a DVD of an event at the Royal Opera House, and she assumed she had confused her with Sue Lawley. But she said: “To my amazement, it was me hosting a gala event at the Royal Opera House. I have no memory whatsoever of doing it.”

Cross-examined by Sasha Wass, QC, Ms Cook admitted she would not “swear blind” under oath that she had not been somewhere for work.

Earlier, the court heard from Harris’s former tour manager, Ken Jeacle, who said female fans would “rush up” to the star and put their arms around him. He would have to “extract” Harris from those situations to avoid fans getting too close, he said.

Speaking via video-link from Australia, Mr Jeacle said: “Rolf Harris, as I observed, was a gentleman who was a very affectionate, warm, outgoing 

“He has absolutely no problem whatsoever with giving somebody a warm embrace; he’s done it to me a million times.

“His behaviour to other people has always been as a gentleman, as somebody whom I have been proud to be in the company of, and never at any time have I even perceived any sort of attitude or behaviour of any type which could be in any way questionable.”

Harris is standing trial on 12 counts of indecent assault on four women between 1968 and 1986, all of which he denies.

The trial will resume on Monday with final speeches.