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Entertainer guilty of child sex

World

London - Rolf Harris, a mainstay of family entertainment in Britain and Australia for more than 50 years, was found guilty on Monday of 12 charges of indecently assaulting young girls over a period of nearly 20 years.

Harris, 84, was unanimously found guilty at a London court of indecently assaulting four girls, some as young as seven or eight, between 1968 and 1986.

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Entertainer Rolf Harris, his wife Alwen and daughter Bindi (R) leave Southwark Crown Court in London. Harris, a mainstay of family entertainment in Britain and Australia for more than 50 years, was found guilty of 12 charges of indecently assaulting young girls over a period of nearly 20 years. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Harris, an artist, musician and singer who presented TV shows mostly aimed at children, is the biggest name to go on trial since British police launched a major investigation after revelations that the late BBC TV host Jimmy Savile was a prolific child sex abuser.

More than a dozen ageing celebrities have been targeted as part of the same over-arching investigation.

Harris will be sentenced on Friday.

During the trial, the prosecution had portrayed the entertainer, who once painted Queen Elizabeth's portrait, as a predator who groomed and abused one 13-year-old girl for her entire teenage and young-adult life.

Harris, who sang snippets of his most famous songs when giving evidence in court, said he had only ever had a consensual adult affair with the woman. He had denied all the charges and said the allegations against him were “laughable”.

A spokesman for the Harris family said they would not be commenting, in light of the verdicts, and asked that their privacy be respected.

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