Rolf Harris in court over assault charges

"Chaotic scenes here... a huge amount of interest in this case", reports Daniela Relph outside court

Entertainer Rolf Harris has appeared in court charged with nine counts of indecent assault and four of making indecent images of children.

During the brief hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, the 83-year-old spoke only to answer personal details.

He was bailed and his case was referred to Southwark Crown Court where he is due to appear on 7 October.

Mr Harris was first arrested in March by police investigating historical allegations of child sexual abuse.

The artist, of Bray, Berkshire, was accompanied to court by his wife Alwen.

Rolf Harris arrived at court with his wife Alwen.

They slowly walked the 50 metres from taxi to court entrance, accompanied by relatives and bodyguards, past scores of press photographers and cameramen.

Wearing a dark suit, white shirt and brightly patterned tie, Mr Harris entered the dock of Court 1 alone.

The judge ordered him to stand and asked him his name, address and date of birth. Mr Harris faltered, asked the judge to put the questions to him once more, and replied in full.

He was not asked to enter a plea at this stage. He will next appear in a higher court, Southwark, in a fortnight's time.

He spoke only to say his name, address and date of birth.

Six charges relate to the alleged indecent assault of a girl aged 15-16 between 1980 and 1981 and three relate to a girl aged 14 in 1986.

The indecent images of children were alleged to have been made last year.

Mr Harris was arrested as part of Operation Yewtree, which was set up in the wake of allegations against the former BBC Radio 1 DJ and TV presenter Jimmy Savile.

Operation Yewtree has three strands - one is looking specifically at the actions of Savile, while the second strand concerns allegations against "Savile and others".

Mr Harris was arrested as part of the third strand, which relates to alleged complaints against other people unconnected to the Savile investigation.

Sonia Woodley QC, representing Mr Harris, indicated to the court that he would be pleading not guilty.

Mr Harris has been a fixture on British TV screens for more than 40 years, having arrived in the UK from his native Australia in 1952.

He has been honoured in the UK three times, first as a Member of the British Empire in 1968 (MBE), then an OBE in 1977 and in 2006 he was advanced to a CBE.

In June 2012 he was awarded one of Australia's highest honours when he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Queen's birthday list.

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