30 Jun 2014

Rolf Harris victim says she considered suicide

One of Rolf Harris’ victims, who was 14 at the time of the offence, says the abuse she suffered almost led her to take her own life.

Tonya Lee, from Australia, was assaulted by Rolf Harris on a visit to the UK in 1986.

Ms Lee, who waived her right to anonymity, told Australia’s Channel 9: “I don’t know how he lives his life day-to-day and I don’t know how he sleeps at night.

“To this day I can’t go to sleep without lying in a lounge and having the TV on. I cannot lie in a room and try and sit with my thoughts and go to sleep.”

Ms Lee was travelling with a theatre group who had arranged to meet Harris at a pub in Greenwich, south east London.

Harris called Ms Lee over to his table and asked her to sit on his lap. He then began to move his hand over her legs and eventually put it up her skirt. He later assaulted her again in the pub’s toilets, she said.

Ms Lee said the assault had made it harder to trust people and said that “I did go to that length where I wanted to die”.

Rolf Harris guilty on 12 counts of indecent assault

Outside the court, DCI Michael Orchard of Scotland Yard said: “”Rolf Harris has habitually denied any wrongdoing forcing his victims to recount their ordeal in public.

“I want to thank the women who came forward for their bravery, I hope today’s guilty verdict will give them closure and help them to begin to move on with their lives.”

Rolf Harris: 'Demon lurking beneath the charming exterior'

Jenny Hopkins, deputy chief crown prosecutor for the CPS in London said: “Rolf Harris used his status and position as a world famous children’s entertainer to sexually assault young girls over a period spanning 18 years.

“I hope today’s verdict provides other victims with the courage and confidence to come forward no matter who is alleged to have carried out the abuse and when.”

Conservative MP Margot James tweeted: “Justice for victims of Rolf Harris, there are many others apart from those who brought charges, it is never too late for justice to be done.”

A spokesperson for The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) said the academy had decided to strip Harris of the BAFTA Fellowship he was awarded in 2012.