A victim of Rolf Harris has told ITV News about the “nasty man who took advantage of his position” as a children’s entertainer and how seeing him for the first time in 25 years in court left her feeling physically sick.
The woman, who does not want to be identified, was living in Cambridge when the Australian TV personality abused her.
She said she was sad that Harris has continued to deny the abuse took place:
I’m sure he doesn’t recognise us but he knows and yes I would have liked him to hold up his hands and say fair cop, I have done these things. It would have been a lot braver but he’s a nasty man who took advantage of his position, exploited that to the very upmost, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.
The woman, who said her recollection of being abused by Harris is so vivid it feels "like it was five minutes ago", lived with her secret for more than two decades:
He was such a huge figure I didn't see any point in going to the police but when the Jimmy Savile story broke, it brought things to the surface. [Harris] was a celebrity and part of our daily lives. He was huge, absolutely huge. The reason it had such an effect was because I was awestruck by him. At the start it was ‘My goodness it was Rolf Harris’ and at the end it was ‘I cannot believe what this man has done to me' and I retreated into myself.
She was unable to say whether she feels she will ever be able to recover from the abuse, although she says Harris being "brought to justice" had "allayed" some of her negative feelings.
I was able to look at his picture for the first time in 25 years on Tuesday. But I still reacted when I saw him today so it’s something I can’t answer yet. I know I will never forget it. I will never get the pictures out of my mind.
She said that she was "incredibly nervous" at Harris' sentencing in court today, adding that she had felt "sick" during the trial.
It was nerve-wracking. Also it was the first time of seeing him. It was a very important day to face him. I did try to catch his eye but he kept his head down. I’ve gone through being really nervous, sick, my physical reaction was extreme, to feelings of ‘this is finally it, he’s getting what he deserves.”
I would’ve liked him to have held his hands up and said sorry. That to me would have done a lot more than the jail sentence.