Rolf Harris victim flirted with him, trial told

An alleged victim of Rolf Harris flirted with him because she was jealous that his daughter had become closer to another friend, a court has heard.

Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court yesterday with his wife, Alwen Hughes. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court yesterday with his wife, Alwen Hughes. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

Jurors at London’s Southwark Crown Court were told that the woman flirted with the veteran entertainer, encouraging him to sit on a bed she was in as he brought her a cup of tea.

“Sexual chemistry” developed between them, leading to consensual sexual encounters, it was claimed, as the woman faced cross-examination yesterday.

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The woman, who was a friend of Harris’s daughter Bindi, has claimed the star abused her from the age of 13, when he first assaulted her on a holiday in Hawaii, and there were sexual encounters between the pair until she was 28.

Harris faces 12 charges of indecent assault, seven relating to the woman, between 1968 and 1986. He denies the charges.

His defence barrister Sonia Woodley QC said the woman became jealous after she and Bindi drifted apart when the Harrises moved away, and also because of Bindi’s friendship with another girl.

Ms Woodley said on one occasion, the woman actively flirted with Harris, guiding him to sit on the bed she was in.

She said: “You and Bindi were drifting apart, partly because of the distance between where you both lived and partly, I suggest, because of your jealousy over her friendship with Karen.

“I suggest that because you were jealous over Karen, you flirted with Rolf Harris. You grabbed his elbow, guiding him to sit on the bed.”

The jury was told that “sexual chemistry” developed between the pair when the woman stayed at Harris’s Berkshire home for a second time.

Ms Woodley said: “There was a second occasion when you came over to stay the night and once again he brought you a cup of tea in the morning. There was sexual chemistry between the two of you.”

The woman replied: “No, no sexual chemistry at all.”

It was also claimed that the woman initiated foreplay with Harris before she performed a sex act on him during a drive to London from Bray, Berkshire, when she was 22.

Ms Woodley suggested that because the woman had initiated the foreplay, that was when he pulled over and the sex act took place.

The woman told the jury that she “didn’t consent to it”.

Earlier, the court heard that the woman’s diary of the holiday when she claims the abuse started showed “no hint of unhappiness”, with her saying she had a “great” day with the entertainer and his family.

The alleged victim was taken through diary entries from the trip to Hawaii in 1978.

Ms Woodley asked her: “No mention in the diary or any hint of anything which had happened to you at the hands of Rolf Harris, is there?”

The woman replied: “I wouldn’t have put it in the diary.”

When asked: “Was that a happy holiday for you?”, she replied: “Basically, yes.”

Her entry for the first full day there, 20 December, said: “Today was great because we went on the beach and went swimming.”

Harris, wearing a light grey suit with a white shirt and dark tie, listened to her evidence with the aid of a hearing loop.

On Monday, the alleged victim told the court she started drinking in her early teens, and would drink gin to help control panic attacks and anxiety if she knew she was likely to see Harris. She said she hid the symptoms of her panic attacks, such as sweating and shaking, so nobody would know.

Ms Woodley also asked the woman about whether she had visited the Harris home in Bray before or after she was 16.

The barrister said: “It’s quite possible that you didn’t go there until after you were 16?”

“Quite possible,” the woman replied.

The trial continues.