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Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris dies aged 93


Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris dies aged 93

Rolf Harris, former entertainer and convicted sex offender, has died at the age of 93.

His family said Harris had “died peacefully surrounded by family and friends and has now been laid to rest”. He was reportedly diagnosed with neck cancer last year.

In 2017, he was released from prison after serving three years for a series of sexual assaults on girls aged 8-19.

Born in Australia, Harris made a name for himself not just in his home country but in the UK. He appeared in children’s programmes for many decades and coined the phrase “Can you tell what it is yet?” in relation to his art work.

In 1994 he became the host of BBC One’s animal welfare series Animal Hospital which followed the plights of furry and non-furry pets in three RSPCA bases for a decade until 2004. His last TV project was also animal-related for Channel 5 presenting Rolf’s Animal Clinic. The series was pulled following his arrest as part of Operation Yewtree.

Outside of television, Rolf had a number of songs in the UK Top 40 including his number one single ‘Two Little Boys’ in November 1969.

A keen artist and a royalist, he painted a portrait of The Queen for her 80th birthday in 2005, and he performed at The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace in 2012.

In March 2013, Harris was arrested for questioning over allegations of sexual assault but was released without charge. He was arrested again in August 2013 and later charged with 12 counts of indecent assault against four girls, aged eight to 19, between 1968 and 1986. Having been found guilty of all 12 counts of indecent assault, he was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison in June 2014.

His youngest victim was aged just 7; another was the friend of his daughter Bindi, whom Harris abused between the ages of 13 and 19.

Harris was also charged with downloading indecent images of children, which were discovered as part of a larger collection of adult pornography, however the CPS decided it was not in the public interest to prosecute him for these offences.

He was subsequently stripped of his BAFTA fellowship and lost much of his estimated £11m fortune amid court costs and claims for compensation.

One conviction for indecent assault against an eight-year-old girl was later overturned. But the Court of Appeal judges dismissed his application to challenge the other 11.

In January 2017, Harris pleaded not guilty to a further seven charges of indecent assault. He was acquitted of three of them while the jury was discharged from deliberating on the remaining four. He was released from prison in May 2017 after serving three years of his sentence and returned to his £5m home in Berkshire.

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