Rolf Harris’s first day in the witness box was much like his career as an entertainer – varied.
It started with the 84-year-old singing part of his 1965 hit Jake the Peg and finished with the judge revealing a series of sketches the 84-year-old had done in court over the past fortnight had been “confiscated and destroyed”.
In between Harris denied “ludicrous” suggestions he’d had sex with his daughter’s friend when she was underage and admitted to a second affair with a female lodger in the mid-1990s.
The star is accused of indecently assaulting four girls in the UK between 1968 and 1986.
The main complainant says Harris abused her from the age of 13 when she joined the family on an overseas holiday.
But on Tuesday he insisted their 10-year “consensual” affair only started when she came to stay over at the family home west of London aged 18.
Bindi Harris was living in a converted boatshed in the garden at the time with her new best friend and the alleged victim felt “excluded”, Harris said.
The TV presenter, then in his early 50s, took her a cup of tea in the morning and she grabbed his elbow and indicated he should sit on the bed.
She then kicked off the duvet revealing her bare legs.
“It seemed to me she was being very flirtatious with me,” Harris said, adding it was flattering.
Harris touched the teenager’s leg – “his heart thumping like mad” – but then left the guest bedroom.
“I find it very hard to discuss this, it’s highly embarrassing,” he said on Tuesday.
“I was a married man, she was a much younger girl, I shouldn’t have been doing it.”
When the complainant next visited things went much further, Harris said.
“She seemed very, very flirtatious, coquettish, looking at me with some sort of sexual chemistry.”
He kissed her, there was foreplay and then he performed oral sex on her.
Asked by defence lawyer Sonia Woodley QC if she was a willing participant the entertainer said: “Yes she was, definitely.”
The same thing happened on a subsequent visit and Harris told the jury: “She seemed to be welcoming the whole business and enjoying it.”
The artist detailed a series of encounters over the next decade.
On one occasion the pair tried to have sex but he prematurely ejaculated “which was very depressing”.
The court heard the relationship “ground to a halt” in the mid-1990s after the woman move to Norfolk.
Around the same time Harris and his wife offered the boatshed rent free to a woman in her mid-30s.
Harris said she was down on her luck and “wasn’t a well girl”.
She became his driver and, the entertainer told the jury, eventually there was “sexual intimacy”.
Harris said he didn’t feel good about the second affair and Alwen was “rightly” devastated when she found out.
Quizzed on Tuesday about the alleged assaults on the three other main complainants Harris – who described himself as a “touchy-feely” person – repeatedly said “nope” or “no” when asked if anything indecent happened.
He told the jury he couldn’t have been near Portsmouth when one incident is said to have occurred in 1969 because he was in Australian filming Rolf’s Walkabout.
The alleged victim says she was seven or eight when Harris put his “big and hairy” hand aggressively between her legs.
The 84-year-old on Tuesday was asked if he had big and hairy hands. In response he raised them above his head.
Harris also denied being in Cambridge in 1975 when another alleged victim says she was groped. The entertainer said he hadn’t been to the city until three of four years ago.
Harris further stated he had no recollection of NSW woman Tonya Lee who claims she was assaulted in London in 1986 when she was 15.
Ms Woodley also asked her client about claims by a supporting witness who says she was groped more than 20 times in one day when working for Channel 7.
Harris said it was impossible to put both hands up both legs of her shorts at once as the make-up artist claimed. He dramatically thrust both hands upwards to demonstrate.
The trial continues.