herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

victim left a 'worthless, quivering wreck'

Rolf Harris's victims have described the harrowing effects the entertainer's assaults had on them, saying they have been unable to move on from his abuse.

As part of the sentencing process of the star, Southwark Crown Court heard victim impact statements from the four women whom the 84-year-old has been convicted of indecently assaulting.

In a statement read by junior prosecutor Esther Schutzer-Weissman, the former friend of his daughter Bindi - to whom seven of the 12 counts relate - said she had been "traumatised" by the years of abuse she suffered at his hands.

She said: "The attacks that happened have made me feel dirty, grubby and disgusting.

"The whole sordid saga has traumatised me."

The woman said Harris's abuse had a lasting effect on her, and had been the cause of a drinking habit she developed at an early age. It affected her relationship with her parents.

"As a young girl, I had aspirations to have a career, settle down and have a family," she said. "However, as a direct result of his actions, this has never materialised.

"The knowledge of what he had done to me haunted me. However, his popularity with the British public made it harder for me to deal with."

worthless

Her statement went on: "Rolf Harris had a hold over me that made me a quivering wreck... he made me feel like a sexual object, he used and abused me to such a degree that it made me feel worthless."

The woman said she had been convinced nobody would believe her: "My loved ones couldn't understand why I drank so much until I told them what Rolf had done to me for so long."

She said: "Rolf Harris, knowing what he had done to me, put me through the ordeal of appearing in court."

She felt he had tried to humiliate her by getting her to talk about the abuse in a public arena.

"I believe he thought he could make me crumble, which I used to, but I am better than I was."

Another victim, Tonya Lee - who has waived her right to anonymity - said her assault by Harris when she visited England as a teenager was a "turning point" in her life that she has never recovered from.

She said: "I have never felt safe since, I live in a constant state of anxiety."

Her statement added: "What Mr Harris took from me was my very essence, I believe that it was for Mr Harris a forgettable moment but it was something for me I will never move on from. I know the person I am today is not the person I should have been."

Another victim, who was indecently assaulted by Harris as she went to get his autograph at a community centre when she was seven or eight, said Harris's assault took away her childhood.

She said the incident left her angry and confused, adding: "I became an angry child, unable to express myself and unable to trust men."

A fourth victim, who was assaulted when she was a teenager as Harris took part in a celebrity game show in Cambridge in the 1970s, said he took advantage of her.

She said: "He treated me like a toy that he had played with for his own pleasure."

hnews@herald.ie

Promoted articles

Entertainment News