In a letter apparently posted in March 1997, and handed to police in November 2012, Rolf Harris admitted to an affair with the daughter of the man the letter was addressed to, a court has heard.
The daughter, who was also a friend of Harris’ daughter Bindi, claims that Harris indecently assaulted her for years, beginning when she was 13.
This is the text of the letter, as read to Southwark Crown Court by prosecutor Sasha Wass QC.
Some parts have been redacted to avoid identifying the complainant.
“Dear [X], please forgive me for not writing sooner. You said in your letter to me that you never wanted to see me or hear from me again, but now [the complainant] says it’s all right to write to you.
Since that trip up to [town], I have been in a state of object self loathing. How we delude ourselves. I fondly imagined that everything that had taken place had progressed from a feeling of love and friendship – there was no rape, no physical forcing, brutality or beating that took place.
When I came to [town], [the complainant] told me that she had always been terrified of me and went along with everything that I did out of fear of me. I said ‘Why did you never just say no?’ And [the complainant] said how could she say no to the great television star Rolf Harris.
Until she told me that, I had no idea that she was scared of me. She laughs in a bitter way and says I must have known that she has always been scared of me. I honestly didn’t know.
[The complainant] keeps saying that this has all been going on since she was thirteen. She’s told you that and you were justly horrified, and she keeps reiterating that to me no matter what I said to the contrary. She says admiring her and telling she looked lovely in her bathing suit was just the same as physically molesting her. I didn’t know.
Nothing took place in a physical way until we had moved to Highlands. I think about 1983 or 84 was the first time. I can pinpoint a date was 1986, because I remember I was in pantomime at Richmond.
When I see the misery I have caused [the complainant] I am sickened by myself. You can’t go back and change things that you have done in this life – I wish to god I could. When I came to [town], spent that time with [the complainant] and realised the enormity of what I had done to [her], and how I had affected her whole life, I begged her for forgiveness and she said ‘I forgive you.’ Whether she really meant it or not, I don’t know. I hope she did, but I fear she can never forgive me.
I find it hard to like myself in any way, shape or form. And as I do these Animal programmes, I see the unconditional love that dogs give to their owners and I wish I could start to love myself again.
If there is any way that I could atone for what I have done I would willingly do it. If there is a way I can start to help [the complainant] to heal herself, I would willingly do it.
With your permission I’ll phone you in a week to talk to you. If you hang up, I will understand, but I would like to talk to you to apologise for betraying your trust and for unwittingly so harming your darling [daughter]. I know that what I did was wrong but we are, all of us, fallible and oh how I deluded myself.
Please forgive me, love Rolf.
Please forgive me for what must have been the most insensitive thing in your eyes – sending the book for Christmas – Alwen knows nothing about all this – at the time and rather than tell her I signed the book and wrote the platitudes with sinking heart. Forgive me.”
The story Rolf Harris' 'confession letter' to the father of alleged abuse victim first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.