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Up to 40 women alleged being assaulted by Rolf Harris

Date

Damien Murphy

Convicted: Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris leaves court with wife Alwen and daughter Bindi.

Convicted: Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris leaves court with wife Alwen and daughter Bindi. Photo: Reuters

Scores of women in Australia, the UK and New Zealand alleged the day after Rolf Harris was convicted in a London court of sexually assaulting four girls in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s that they also had been attacked by the entertainer.

Harris, 84, who will be sentenced on Friday, faces the possibility of losing the bulk of his rumoured $20 million fortune to fend off compensation claims or if police consider laying further criminal charges.

Three Perth women, including high-profile radio host Jane Marwick, TV newsreader Verity James and local singer Louise Anton, were named in local media as having been assaulted by Harris.

However, police in Harris’s home state of Western Australia said the entertainer was not the subject of any current investigations.

Detective Superintendent Glen Feeney said if anyone came forward officers would investigate. 

“There is no time lapse or statute of limitation on these type of offences. We quite often do get historical complaints, for example the royal commission, and we look at every complaint that is made to us,” Superintendent Feeney said.

Meanwhile in London a Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed the UK force had "received a number of new allegations and these are now being considered".

Law firm Slater and Gordon, which represented victims of the dead disgraced paedophile Jimmy Savile, confirmed it had been contacted by 12 women in Australia and the UK who claimed Harris abused them.

 Slater and Gordon’s  Barrie Woollacott said the firm was investigating potential compensation entitlements in light of the recent Harris convictions.

“Sadly, this is the second conviction in recent times of a high-profile Australian paedophile who used their fame and celebrity status to abuse vulnerable children,” Mr Woollacott said. Robert Hughes, star of the TV series Hey Dad!, was jailed in May for a minimum of six years for sexual abuse of four girls.

In Perth, vandals destroyed a commemorative plaque placed outside Harris’ childhood home in the suburb of Bassendean.

The word PEDO was daubed in white paint across the plaque.

London’s Daily Mirror newspaper reported claims by a 53-year-old grandmother that Harris had sang Jack the Peg to her when she was 11 when he tried to sexually assault her.

The newspaper said it was believed Australian police may apply to extradite Harris after he is released from prison in the UK. A source said: ‘An open line has been kept between Australian authorities and Scotland Yard. If Mr Harris is believed to be guilty of a crime in Australia then he must face justice.”

The Daily Mail claimed that child protection campaigners were inundated with calls, with the potential number of victims in Australia, Britain and New Zealand ‘‘now thought to exceed 40’’.

It said Harris remained in his palatial Berkshire home backing onto the Thames with his wife, Alwen, 82, as he awaited Friday’s sentencing. 

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