4 Jul 2014

After decades of fame, the past catches up with Rolf Harris

TV entertainer Rolf Harris is sentenced to five years and nine months in jail for his indecent assaults on four girls. He is expected to be released after serving three years.

The 84-year-old, once a much-loved artist and musician, was convicted on Monday of 12 sex charges involving four women, most while they were under age.

He was arrested in March 2013 as part of the Operation Yewtree investigation, which was triggered by revelations that the late BBC TV host Jimmy Savile was a prolific child sex abuser.

BREAKING: Rolf Harris sentenced to 5yrs and 9 months in total for assaulting 4 girls. He’lll automatically be released after 3 years #c4news

— Darshna Soni (@darshnasoni) July 4, 2014

During Harris’s trial at London’s Southwark crown court, which opened on 9 May, prosecutors claimed that the entertainer was a “Jekyll and Hyde” character who had a dark side to his personality and used his fame to abuse under-age girls. But his defence team tried to convince the jury that Harris’s reputation had been “trashed” by a prosecution that did not reach the standard of criminal proof.

Harris arrived for his sentencing by boat from his house which backs onto the River Thames, before walking into court supported by his family.

Home Affairs Correspondent Darshna Soni reports from inside court:

"You can take him down now." Rolf Harris did not show any reaction as the judge ordered the guards to escort him downstairs to a cell. The entertainer had stared straight ahead as the judge told him: "You have shown no remorse at all, your reputation lies in ruins. You have nobody but yourself to blame."

It can now be reported that the 84-year-old had also been charged with four separate offences of viewing child pornography online - but this information was never put before the jury during his trial. Detectives found the images after searching his home computer. They also found a note in his diary with instructions for how to delete his browsing history.

Harris had visited sites entitled "Just Teens" and "Tiny Teen Girlfriends." However his defence team argued that Harris believed the girls were all over the age of 18.

The CPS announced today that the charges have been dropped, as pursuing them could be considered oppressive in light of his conviction for indecent assault.