Rolf Harris admits being ‘touchy-feely’ but denies assault
Singer and artist (84) admits ‘hugging’ friend of daughter but not in ‘sexual’ way
Entertainer Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London today. Photograph: Andrew Winning/Reuters
Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris has admitted he is a “touchy-feely” person but denied indecently assaulting a friend of his daughter while on holiday.
The 84-year-old told Southwark Crown Court that he did hug the girl on the trip, but said he would hug most people.
Giving evidence for the first time during his indecent assault trial, the star - wearing a pin-striped suit and turquoise and purple tie — told jurors: “I’m a very touchy-feely sort of person.”
During questioning by his defence barrister, Sonia Woodley QC, Harris was asked: “(The alleged victim) has said that you hugged her and she found that creepy. Have you hugged (the alleged victim)?”
Harris replied: “Yes, I have. I’m a very touchy-feely sort of person.”
Ms Woodley asked: “In any sexual way or not?”
“No,” said Harris.
The artist was then questioned about a particular incident which is alleged to have happened when the girl, who was friends with his daughter Bindi, travelled with them to Hawaii.
Ms Woodley said: “She says that when she came out of the shower you were there and you indecently assaulted her. Did you do that?”
The TV star replied: “No, it didn’t happen.”
Harris, from Bray in Berkshire, faces 12 counts of indecent assault on four alleged victims between 1968 and 1986, all of which he denies.
Seven of the counts relate to his daughter’s friend, who claims he carried out a string of assaults on her over a number of years, starting with the foreign trip.