Har­ris walks free from his re­trial… and now he plots to clear name

Daily Mail - - Election 2017 - By Re­becca Cam­ber and In­derdeep Bains

ROLF Har­ris is to launch a fresh bid to over­turn his sex­ual abuse con­vic­tions af­ter pay­ing pri­vate de­tec­tives to find ev­i­dence to brand his vic­tims liars in his re­cent trial, it emerged yes­ter­day.

The dis­graced 87-year-old en­ter­tainer walked free from court af­ter jurors failed to reach a verdict in a re­trial, say­ing: ‘I feel no sense of vic­tory – only re­lief.’

Now he hopes to clear his name af­ter pros­e­cu­tors an­nounced he will not face a third trial over claims from three women who came for­ward af­ter his

‘No sense of vic­tory – only re­lief’

orig­i­nal con­vic­tion in 2014 for in­de­cently as­sault­ing four other women and chil­dren be­tween 1968 and 1986.

Af­ter Har­ris’s three-year court bat­tle fi­nally came to an end, it can be re­vealed how the mil­lion­aire artist used pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tors and top lawyers to un­der­mine his ac­cusers.

He even launched a bid to go on trial via vide­olink from his £3 mil­lion home in Bray, Berk­shire. The bid came as Har­ris was due to go free early from Stafford Prison half­way through his lat­est trial af­ter serv­ing less than three years of a fiveyear and nine-month sen­tence.

But Judge Deb­o­rah Tay­lor re­jected the ap­pli­ca­tion and or­dered him to ap­pear at Lon­don’s South­wark Crown Court to face four charges of in­de­cently as­sault­ing three girls aged 13 to 16, which the jury were un­able to reach a verdict on af­ter a two-week trial.

Now he is to seek leave to ap­peal against his orig­i­nal con­vic­tion for at­tacks on chil­dren, whom his law- yer has branded ‘false vic­tims’ out to get part of his £11 mil­lion for­tune. His case is due to be heard be­fore the Court of Ap­peal within the next few months. If he is suc­cess­ful, it would raise the pos­si­bil­ity that Har­ris could seek com­pen­sa­tion for wrong­ful im­pris­on­ment.

Vic­tims re­acted with fury to the tac­tics of Har­ris’s lawyers to por­tray them as ly­ing gold dig­gers.

His youngest vic­tim, Wendy Wild, who was just seven when she al­leged she was groped at a disco in 1969, has re­peat­edly been branded a liar by Har­ris’s bar­ris­ter Stephen Vullo QC. Mr Vullo sug­gested Miss Wild, who has waived her right to anonymity, was out for com­pen­sa­tion, say­ing: ‘She in­di­cated in court that ... the rea­son she had made her com­plaint was for clo­sure.

‘She sub­se­quently is­sued pro­ceed­ings and re­ceived £22,000 in dam­ages [from Har­ris].’

An­other woman, who claimed Har­ris grabbed her breast when she was 13 at the BBC Tele­vi­sion Studios in 1983, was asked by Mr Vullo: ‘Do you re­mem­ber talk on­line of peo­ple go­ing af­ter Mr Har­ris’s £ 11 mil­lion for­tune through com­pen­sa­tion?’ She replied: ‘It’s never been about money.’ Dur­ing the lat­est case, it also emerged that police did not ques­tion the mother of one of the al­leged vic­tims be­cause she claimed she would take her own life if of­fi­cers ap­proached her af­ter be­ing quizzed by Har­ris’s pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

Yes­ter­day Judge Tay­lor cleared Har­ris of mo­lest­ing a 14-year-old girl at the Lyceum The­atre in Lon­don on July 10, 1971, as­sault­ing a 16- year- old dur­ing ITV’s Star Games in 1978, and grab­bing the breast of the 13-year-old af­ter chil­dren’s show Saturday Su­per­store.

In a state­ment, Har­ris said: ‘I feel no sense of vic­tory, only re­lief. I’m 87 years old, my wife is in ill-health and we sim­ply want to spend our re­main­ing time to­gether in peace.’

Court bat­tle: Har­ris yes­ter­day

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