Rolf Harris goes quiet as paper exposes sex arrest

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Rolf Harris was arrested by police investigating allegations of sexual abuse following the Jimmy Savile scandal, it emerged yesterday.

Harris, 83, was originally interviewed by detectives from Scotland Yard’s Operation Yewtree in November and was then arrested over the allegations on March 28.

Rolf Harris

Rolf Harris

Until then, the TV personality, who performed for the Queen at her Diamond Jubilee concert last year, had only been named online.

His name began to circulate more widely yesterday, however, after its publication by The Sun newspaper.

He is one of 12 people who have been arrested under Operation Yewtree, the national investigation prompted by allegations against disgraced entertainer Savile, who died in 2011 aged 84.

He was interviewed under caution on November 29 last year, five days after a search warrant was executed at his home in Berkshire.

After his arrest in March, just days before his 83rd birthday, a Scotland Yard spokesman said: “An 82-year-old man from Berkshire was arrested by officers on Operation Yewtree on suspicion of sexual offences.

“He has been bailed to a date in May pending further inquiries.

“The individual falls under the strand of the investigation we have termed ‘others’.”

Reporters who rang the buzzer at Harris’s home in Bray, Berkshire, yesterday morning were told “no comment” by a man who answered.

A short time later, a woman visitor who rang the buzzer and said “Hi Rolf” was allowed into the property.

Harris became an enduring family favourite in the UK after moving from his native Australia at the age of 21 to pursue his dream of becoming a painter.

In London – which Harris described as “the hub of the universe” – the Australian joined an art school, but after two years he dropped out and instead started drawing on children’s television programmes.

He married his wife, Alwen, in 1958 and, after a brief return to Australian television, the couple travelled back to England, where Harris ploughed on with his successful career in television and music.

His first hit – Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport – was released in 1960 and reached number one in the Australian singles chart, number three in the US and number nine in the UK.

With 30 studio albums, 48 singles, two live albums and four compilation records, Harris’s musical output spans six decades. His television career has been similarly long.

He was made a CBE in the 2006 Queen’s birthday honours list.

He was also appointed Officer of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s birthday honours list last year for his service to the performing and visual arts, to charitable organisations and to international relations through the promotion of Australian culture.

Harris is among a number of high-profile entertainment industry figures arrested as part of Operation Yewtree.

The investigation, launched by Scotland Yard amid an avalanche of allegations triggered by an ITV documentary on Savile, is being run in three strands: allegations against Savile, allegations involving Savile and others, and allegations involving others.

The claims against Harris are not linked to Savile, but Scotland Yard has refused to reveal any details.

Among the 11 others arrested so far, former pop star Gary Glitter, DJ Dave Lee Travis, comedians Freddie Starr and Jim Davidson, and PR guru Max Clifford all deny any wrongdoing.

After his arrest last December, Clifford said the allegations against him were “totally without any foundation and they are totally untrue”.

Travis and Davidson were both arrested and later re-arrested after further allegations. Both maintained their innocence throughout.

Travis said that he strongly denied any wrongdoing, he had co-operated with the police and his “conscience is clear”.

Davidson’s solicitor Henri Brandman said the allegations against his client dated back several years, were made by complainants who were adults at the time and the comedian “vigorously denies” their claims.