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BREAKING AUSTRALIA REPORT: Rolf Harris, disgraced former entertainer and convicted paedophile, dies aged 93


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Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: May.23: 2023:

#AceNewsDesk – Disgraced former entertainer and convicted paedophile Rolf Harris has died at the age of 93.


His family issued a statement on Tuesday confirming his death.

“This is to confirm that Rolf Harris recently died peacefully surrounded by family and friends and has now been laid to rest,” the statement read.

“They ask that you respect their privacy. No further comment will be made.”

Once one of Australia’s most famous celebrity exports — renowned as a television presenter, musician and painter — Harris was prosecuted in 2013 for indecent assault against girls and young women between 1968 and 1986.

A year later, convicted at London’s Southwark Crown Court over 12 offences, he was sentenced to five years and nine months in jail, and was released in May 2017 on parole.

He briefly hit the headlines again in February 2019 when he was spotted near the grounds of a primary school near his home, prompting calls for his parole to be revoked.

Instead, he was counselled by authorities.

Boy from Perth became star of British TV

Harris was born in Perth, Western Australia on March 30, 1930, to parents Agnes and Cromwell Harris, immigrants from Cardiff in Wales.

His first creative pursuit was art, staging his first solo exhibition at the age of 16. His self-portrait was hung in the Art Gallery of New South Wales during the 1947 Archibald Prize.

He won the Claude Hotchin prize for oil painting two years later.

Harris moved to the United Kingdom in 1952, drawing animations for the BBC, and gradually becoming a popular television personality.

He presented Rolf’s Cartoon Club and Animal Hospital, and from 1967 through to the 1980s he anchored variations of The Rolf Harris Show.

In 1958, he married Alwen Hughes, and the couple had a daughter, Bindi, in 1964.

‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport’

In 1960, Harris’s hit song Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport rocketed to number one on the Australian charts and into the top 10 in the UK and the United States.

The song featured his famous wobbleboard — a flexible piece of hardboard he moved back and forth to produce what became a trademark musical effect.

Racist references to Indigenous people in the lyrics were removed from later versions of the song.

Harris expressed regret at using them, but courted similar controversy when, in 2008, he told Indigenous Australians to get “off their arse” to “clean up the streets” rather than complain about poverty.

In all, Harris recorded almost 50 singles and more than 30 albums throughout his career, with his version of Two Little Boys becoming his most successful single.

His musical career saw him perform at the Royal Albert Hall, the iconic Glastonbury Festival, and at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert in front of Buckingham Palace.

A royal portrait painter and honours recipient

In 2005 Harris was commissioned to paint a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II — a sitting which was filmed as part of a BBC special — and the following year he was made a Commander of the British Empire.Rolf Harris posing with his portrait of the Queen in 2005.(AFP)none

In 2012 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Harris continued to perform concerts right up until May 2013, when his criminal trial began. The main complainant was a childhood friend of Harris’s daughter, Bindi.

She told the court Harris had first abused her during an overseas family holiday in 1978, when she aged 13.

This was followed by a 10-year period in which he regularly assaulted her.

A ‘sinister pervert’ who ‘groped and mauled’ young girls

Harris admitted he had what he described as a 10-year affair with the accuser, but said it did not start until she was 18, and the relationship was consensual.A court sketch of Rolf Harris.(Supplied: Julia Quenzler)none

Although Bindi supported him in her testimony, claiming she was with her friend during the entire holiday when the assaults first began, the court would ultimately find Harris was lying.

The prosecution described Harris as a “sinister pervert” who had a “demon lurking beneath his charming character”.

He was described as using “underage girls as sexual objects” to be “groped and mauled”.

Harris alleged his victims were fabricating their claims. But the court upheld the evidence of the four complainants and six supporting witnesses, and found him guilty.

“You have shown no remorse for your crimes at all,” Justice Nigel Sweeney told Harris as he handed down the sentence in October 2014.

“Your reputation lies in ruins, you have been stripped of your honours, but you have no-one to blame but yourself.”

At age 84, the judge announced half of Harris’s sentence would be non-custodial.

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