A London court hearing more indecent assault charges against Rolf Harris has been told he acted “like an octopus” as his hands roved over a woman he allegedly molested.
The Westminster Magistrates Court also heard that Harris asked a 13-year-old girl behind the scenes of a TV show, “Do you often get molested on a Saturday morning?” before assaulting her.
The 85-year-old appeared on Thursday by video link from Stafford Prison where he’s serving nearly six years on similar charges.
He pleaded not guilty to seven charges of indecent assault and an alternative charge of sexual touching.
Wearing a grey suit and colourful tie, Harris sat quietly as details of each count were put to District Judge Quentin Purdy by prosecutor Sam Maine.
The new charges relate to seven complainants aged between 12 and 27 at the time of the alleged offences between 1971 and 2004.
The court heard that Harris said to one 14-year-old girl seeking an autograph after a radio show in Portsmouth, “Let’s give you a cuddle” before putting his hand up the back of her skirt and touching her vagina.
In another case involving a 14-year-old youth band member in London in 1977, Harris allegedly put his hand up her mini skirt and indecently touched her.
Mr Maine said after that incident the girl would turn off the television when Harris was on and couldn’t stand the sound of his voice.
In an incident at a hospital in 1977, Harris allegedly approached a disabled woman, telling her she was “gorgeous” before kissing her neck and running his hands over her bottom and breasts.
Mr Maine told the court that Harris told her he was a “touchy, feely sort of bloke”, but the woman felt “totally trapped”.
“Mr Harris felt like an octopus … his hands spread as far as he could spread them,” he quoted the woman as saying.
Mr Maine said a 16-year-old girl allegedly assaulted by Harris was told “you’re a bit irresistible”, while a 13-year-old girl on a Saturday TV show was asked by him, “Do you often get molested on a Saturday morning?”
The court heard that a 19-year-old was told by Harris at a music studio in London that if he joined two dimples on her back to her “bum crack” it would “make the shape of a diamond which is really sexy”.
It’s also alleged that in a case of sexual touching in 2004 at a BBC studio Harris grabbed a woman’s breasts and thrust his crotch into her.
The woman was told by colleagues that Harris was a “dirty old man” and to “get with the program” as there was a policy that “no woman rides the lift alone with him”.
Mr Maine told the court that Harris was a “practised offender” who abused the trust placed in him as a celebrity and targeted victims regardless of their age or vulnerability.
District Judge Purdy referred the case to the Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on April 14 to determine trial dates.
Outside court, lawyer Daniel Berke read out a statement from the Harris family saying they were “disappointed and saddened” prosecutors had decided to pursue another trial against Harris, who would be 86 later this month.
“We, for our part, will do all we can as a family to assist him in proving his innocence”.
THE CHARGES IN FULL
• Indecent assault on a girl under the age of 14 at the Lyceum Theatre in London in 1971.
• Indecent assault on a girl under the age of 14 outside Radio Victory in Portsmouth in 1977.
• Indecent assault on a disabled woman over the age of 16 outside a London hospital in 1977.
• Indecent assault on a woman over the age of 16 at Jesus Green in Cambridge in 1978.
• Indecent assault on a girl under the age of 14 at the BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane over the Christmas period in 1983.
• Indecent assault on a woman over the age of 16 at Terminal’s Studios in London in 2002.
• Indecent assault on a woman over the age of 16 at the BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane in 2004, and the alternate charge to this is one count of sexual touching on a female aged 13 or over at the BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane in 2004.