In Depth

Rolf Harris: victims hit back over 'slimy woodworm' lyrics

Convicted paedophile Rolf Harris penned a song from his prison cell about the 'injustice of it all'

Convicted sex offender Rolf Harris has been branded "pathetic" after writing a song from prison that appears to refer to his victims as "slimy little woodworm".

Harris, who was convicted last year of indecently assaulting four girls, including one who was just seven, said he wanted to record the song when he was released from jail.

"After eight months inside, the inner rage has come to the fore. I've started writing a song about the injustice of it all," he wrote in a letter to a friend, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Lyrics included: "Climb up out of the woodwork babe/From forty years ago/The climate's great in Britain now/For making loads of dough" and "Perhaps you believe you're pretty still/Some perfumed sultry wench."

Harris said he wanted to put the lyrics to a "country rock sound", adding that "prison is no hardship really" and that "basically I'm doing what I like".

Karen Gardner, who was assaulted by the star in 1977 when she was 16 and has waived her right to anonymity, said she was angry that Harris "still didn't get it".

She told the BBC he was trying to make himself feel "big and strong" when he was actually "a pathetic, disgraced old man in prison".

Another victim, Wendy Wild, who was abused when she was seven, has written her own lyrics in response. Published in the Daily Mirror, she wrote: "You're just a sex offender. Now put that in a song and sing it."

Liz Dux, a solicitor from Slater and Gordon, who represents Harris's victims, has called for him to be denied the right to apply for parole. "If he is allowed to apply, I sincerely hope this letter is taken into account and he is made to serve his full term," she said.

"He put these women through hell during the trial. He showed them nothing but contempt and arrogance, even in the way he assaulted them. They will be distraught at this disgusting song."

Rolf Harris to appeal against sex assault conviction

01 August

Rolf Harris has applied for permission to appeal against his conviction for a series of indecent assaults, the Judicial Office has revealed.

The veteran entertainer was found guilty of indecently assaulting four young girls and last month was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison.

The application will go before a single judge who will decide whether or not Harris has grounds to appeal.

His offences occurred between 1968 and 1986 and his victims were all between the ages of eight and 19.

The announcement comes days after the attorney general's office said it would not be referring the sentence to the Court of Appeal, despite 150 complains over its leniency.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright said he would not send the case to the appeal court judges as "he did not think they would find it to be unduly lenient and increase it", his office told the BBC

Rolf Harris jailed for less than six years for sex assaults

4 July

Rolf Harris has been sentenced to five years and nine months for indecently assaulting four girls, including one who was just seven or eight.

The 84-year-old, who was found guilty on Monday of all 12 charges of indecent assault brought against him, has been told he must serve at least half of the sentence.

The Australian entertainer arrived at London's Southwark Crown Court for sentencing this morning after travelling by boat from his home in Bray, Berkshire. His daughter Bindi was by his side, but his wife Alwen was not in court, as she was apparently not well.

In a court packed with reporters, the judge told Harris: "You have shown no remorse; you have no-one to blame but yourself."

In a victim statement read out in court today, the woman who was assaulted at the age of seven or eight in 1969 said that in just a space of few minutes on that day her childhood innocence had gone.

The defence team had asked the judge to take into account Harris's age, health and the fact he has not behaved inappropriately for the last 20 years.

Earlier in the day, the judge revealed that Harris was facing four counts of making indecent images, but said these had been dropped in light of the convictions as they were no longer seen to be in the public interest. Police searching Harris's computer in 2012 had found he had been browsing websites of indecent images of children.

The entertainer allegedly copied 33 indecent images after trawling websites such as "Teeny Tiny Girlfriend", "Young Little Girlies" and "Little V******".

The websites show images of girls believed to be as young as 13, reports The Guardian. Police also found a note in Harris's diary, in his handwriting, of how to delete internet browser history.

Before the trial, his lawyers persuaded the judge that the four charges should be tried separately from the other counts. They argued that they needed more time to complete their defence, including measures to prove the girls on the websites were over 18. The decision meant the jury heard nothing about the images and was seen at the time as a major setback for the prosecution.

Rolf Harris: police consider fresh allegations

1 July

Police say they are considering fresh allegations against Rolf Harris, who was yesterday found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault spanning nearly two decades 

The BBC says "dozens" more alleged victims of the 84-year-old came forward during the trial. Some of the complaints came from people living in Harris's native Australia.

Sky News has spoken to two Australian women who say they were groped by Harris "in circumstances which echo some of the evidence heard during the fallen star's trial".

One, Louise Anton, says she met Harris at a function in Australia in 2008 and was assaulted while she posed for a photo with the star. After he allegedly slid his hand between her buttocks, she challenged Harris.

Anton says Harris responded by saying: "Feels good, dunnit?" A Perth-based writer and broadcaster, Jane Marwick, says Rolf groped her breast when she interviewed him in 2001 and posed for a photograph.

It has also emerged that Harris visited Broadmoor Hospital as a guest of repeat sex abuser and rapist Jimmy Savile. The NHS trust which runs the hospital confirmed that Harris had visited the premises but could not provide details, says Sky News.

The Department of Health said it would not consider an investigation into whether Harris was involved in sexual abuse at the hospital while inquiries into Savile's activities there, and at other hospitals, were still ongoing.

Responding to the news of Harris's conviction, Australian PM Tony Abbott said: "I feel gutted and dismayed but it's very important that we do everything we humanly can to protect vulnerable young people. Sexual abuse is an utterly abhorrent crime."

There are plans to remove a plaque commemorating Harris's birth in the Perth suburb of Bassendean – and to remove some of his paintings which are displayed in council buildings there. In the UK, Bafta has said it will strip Harris of his fellowship.

More on Rolf Harris

Rolf Harris guilty of indecent assaults


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