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Perverted Rolf Harris 'assaulted me on live TV'

Last updated 09:53 07/07/2014
Rolf Harris
Reuters
CONVICTED: Australian-born entertainer Rolf Harris.

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An English television presenter has described in graphic detail how convicted predator Rolf Harris groped her on live television while she was interviewing him in the mid-1990s.

Vanessa Feltz says she was assaulted by Harris when filming an "on the bed" interview for Channel 4's Big Breakfast show in 1996.

The 52-year-old, who now has a BBC radio show, decided to waive her right to anonymity in the hope of encouraging other women to speak out.

Feltz told UK tabloid the Sunday Express that when Harris put his hand inside her knickers almost 20 years ago, she was "absolutely staggered".

"Somehow I knew I had to do something but I was in the middle of an interview on live television with one of the most famous men in the country," she said.

"What do you do? Stop and tell the viewers: 'Rolf Harris is assaulting me'? I could not do that.

"I was also conscious that we had a lot of children watching and I could not say anything which would upset them."

The presenter believes Harris knew exactly what he was doing "and he was getting excited about it ... doing what he was doing while he was on live television".

Feltz said at the time she realised if she didn't do something dramatic, "his hand would have gained access to the most intimate part of my body".

So before Harris could further assault her while they were both on the bed she threw to a break and moved away.

After the commercials, the convicted Australian predator carried on as if nothing had happened, she said.

Feltz was one of seven women the prosecution couldn't call as bad character witnesses during Harris's trial.

Most were ruled inadmissible by Justice Nigel Sweeney.

Prosecutor Sasha Wass, QC, had wanted to show the jury footage of Feltz interviewing Harris in 1996.

The presenter first revealed in a 2012 newspaper column that she had been attacked by a "married, avuncular, much-beloved national treasure".

Harris was sentenced on Friday to five years and nine months' jail for indecently assaulting four girls in Britain between 1968 and 1986.

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