Who was Rolf Harris and why did he go to prison? – The Sun | The Sun

ROLF HARRIS died in May 2023, almost a decade after he was jailed for a a string of sex attacks on children.

Prior to his crimes becoming public knowledge, the disgraced star was known for being a TV presenter, musician and artist.

Who is Rolf Harris?

Rolf Harris was born on March 30, 1930, in Perth, Australia.

His parents, Agnes and Cromwell, had emigrated there from their previous home in Cardiff, Wales.

Harris showed an interest in art from a young age and was just 16 when a self-portrait he painted was exhibited in the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

He was also a keen swimmer as a youngster.

In 1953 Harris, then aged 22, left Australia to move to England and a year later he landed a role presenting a children's art show on the BBC.



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Harris married Alwen Hughes, a Welsh sculptress and jeweller, while they were both art students in March 1958.

He then returned to Australia to take on more TV work and start his music career.

It was during this stint Down Under that he first began using his famous catchphrase – "Can you tell what it is yet?" – while on a promotional tour of Australia for Dulux.



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Harris returned to the UK in 1962 and re-recorded his hit Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport.

Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport was a Top 10 hit in Australia, the UK, and the United States, and Harris even performed it with The Beatles.

He went on to land a UK No1 with Two Little Boys in 1969 and a No7 hit with Stairway to Heaven in 1993.

As well as becoming famous for his music, Harris became a popular television personality in the UK in the 1960s and 1970s thanks to his roles on The Rolf Harris Show, Rolf's Cartoon Club and Animal Hospital.

In 2005 Harris, who lived in Bray in Berkshire for more than six decades before his death, painted an official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

Harris had one child, a daughter called Bindi, with his wife.

In 2023 it was reported that she had changed her name to Ava Reeves in an attempt to distance herself from her dead father.

Why did Rolf Harris go to prison?

Rolf Harris was convicted of 12 counts of indecent assault in June 2014 and was subsequently jailed for five years and nine months.

When sentencing, Judge Mr Justice Sweeney said: "Your reputation now lies in ruins, but you have no one to blame but yourself."

The disgraced star was released from prison in May 2017 part-way through a re-trial on four accusations of indecent assault, but was rarely seen in public in the period between then and his death.

The last photo of the former presenter before his death aged 93 showed him in a wheelchair after neck cancer left him needing 24-hour care.

Harris appeared at the Court of Appeal in London to try and overturn his 2014 convictions in November 2017, claiming jurors in the case were "poisoned" against him.

One conviction was overturned following his appeal, but the other 11 remain.

Harris stood trial for a second time in 2017, accused of four counts of indecent assault against three teenage girls, the youngest of who was 13, at public events between 1971 and 1983.

The retrial heard from the three women who claimed Harris molested them when they were young.

They included a woman who alleged he groped her at a music event in London when she was 14 in 1971, and a 16-year-old who told jurors he touched her inappropriately during filming of ITV show Star Games in 1978.

The 13-year-old alleged he molested her after an episode of BBC children’s programme Saturday Superstore in 1983.

Harris did not give evidence, with his lawyers saying he did not remember any of the events.

His lawyers claimed that the women were motivated by greed, coming forward after he was convicted in June 2014 of 12 counts of indecent assault.

After deliberating for just under five hours at Southwark Crown Court in London, the jury said they were unable to reach verdicts on any of the four charges and were discharged by Judge Deborah Taylor.

Harris had denied all four counts against him.

What crimes did Rolf Harris commit?

Harris was found guilty of carrying out a number of indecent assaults against children at the height of his fame.

He committed 12 indecent acts against children in a period between the 70s and 80s, where he regularly appeared on TV.

The crimes were committed against four girls – one of who was aged just seven or eight.

His trial heard that one of the victims was a childhood friend of his daughter and another a young autograph hunter.

One count of indecent assault was overturned due to an unsafe conviction in 2017.

Was Rolf Harris knighted?

Harris was awarded an array of different honours before his crimes came to light but was never knighted.

In 1968 he was awarded an MBE, an OBE then followed in 1977 and a CBE was handed to him in 2006.

Harris was stripped of these honours in March 2015 when the criminal charges against him became known.

He was also stripped of being a Member of the Order of Australia, an honour he was awarded in 1989, and which had been upgraded to Officer in the Queen's New Years Honour's in 2012.

What was Rolf Harris' net worth?

Harris 's net worth was $19million (just over £15million) at the time of his death, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

In 2015 it was reported that he was still making around £1,300 a day from his prison cell, due to a number of investments he made over the course of his career.

His home, where he died, is estimated to be worth over £7million.

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