UK

Rolf Harris trial: Make-up artist branded TV star 'octopus'

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Media captionEarlier, one witness denied fabricating an assault, as Sangita Myska reports

Entertainer Rolf Harris was branded "the octopus" after repeatedly groping a TV make-up artist, a court has heard.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told Southwark Crown Court there were more than two dozen such assaults during the day.

Earlier, another witness denied making up claims she was groped by Mr Harris, of Berkshire, in a pub when she was 15.

The star, 84, denies 12 historic indecent assault charges related to four girls aged seven or eight to 19.

The incidents are alleged to have taken place between 1968 and 1986.

The former TV makeup artist, who gave evidence from behind a screen, said Mr Harris was known as the octopus because "it was all hands".

The entertainer repeatedly put his hands inside the freelancer's baggy denim shorts as far as her hips while making a programme in Australia in 1986, she told jurors.

'Not a robot'

Southwark Crown Court heard that on one occasion while groping her that day, Harris even discussed her legs with the programme's male director, who was standing next to them.

She told the jury she later complained to her female supervisor: "That dirty old man groped me all day."

The woman, who was in her 20s at the time, is providing evidence in support of the prosecution case. However, none of the charges relate to her.

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Image caption Miss Lee, pictured here in the 1980s, has waived her right to anonymity

Three of the 12 counts relate to Tonya Lee, 43, from Australia, who says she was in London on a theatre trip in 1986.

Miss Lee, who has waived her right to anonymity, had previously told the court Mr Harris had assaulted her at the start of her group's six-week visit to the UK.

However, on Wednesday, she admitted she got the date of one of the alleged assaults wrong.

An itinerary of the tour produced by Sonia Woodley QC, for the defence, said there would be a "celebratory meal with Rolf Harris" in a public house in Greenwich at the end of their tour.

Miss Lee told the court she was "not a robot" with a head for dates but she had "no doubt" the assault took place, in a pub in Greenwich, south-east London.

"There is no doubt in my mind what occurred to me," she said.

"Both assaults are very clear in my mind. I got the dates wrong, I admit to that."

'Blood money'

Miss Lee also dismissed prosecution claims that she had made up the story because she was motivated by money.

The court was told she had made a £33,000-deal with a Sydney publicity agent to give interviews to an Australian TV station and a magazine.

The jurors were also shown a newspaper article in which Miss Lee complained that not all of the money due to her had been paid.

She added: "That was blood money. That's not money for frivolity or fun."

Wednesday's second witness, a former partner of Mr Harris's daughter, said he was told by one of the complainants that the entertainer had an under-age sexual relationship with her.

Malcolm Cox said the woman, a friend of Bindi Harris, was visiting the Harris family home in Bray, Berkshire, in 1996 or 1997 when she told him there had been a sexual relationship between Mr Harris and her, and it had occurred before the age of 16.

He said: "The gist was, in my opinion, that someone had been abused."

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