Rolf Harris has been jailed for almost six years after being convicted of a string of indecent assaults.
The Australian entertainer was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court earlier today, after a jury found him guilty of twelve counts of indecent assault against four girls on Monday.
The incidents took place between 1968 and 1986, with his youngest victim aged just 7; another victim was the friend of his daughter Bindi, whom Harris abused between the ages of 13 and 19. Mr Justice Sweeney said Harris had “no-one to blame but himself” and stated that he had taken advantage of the trust placed in him by his victims and had “got a thrill” from committing some of the offences
Sweeney ruled that Harris should serve some of his twelve sentences of varying lengths at the same time and some consecutively – adding up to a total of five years and nine months. Harris could leave prison in under three years on licence, however the sentence has already been referred to the Attorney General’s Office under the “unduly lenient sentence scheme”.
Harris had also been 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. Earlier this week, Harris was stripped off his BAFTA fellowship and could now face the possible loss of much of his estimated £11m fortune amid court costs and claims for compensation.
Born in Australia, Rolf 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. A keen artist, he painted a portrait of The Queen and performed at The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace in 2012.
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 and subsequent charging.
Outside of television, Rolf had a number of songs in the UK Top 40 including his number one track ‘Two Little Boys’ in November 1969.