Harris arrested over sex abuse claims after Savile scandal

Rolf Harris was named as the veteran entertainer who was arrested by police investigating allegations of sexual abuse following the Jimmy Savile scandal.

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

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

However, The Sun named him yesterday and other news outlets followed.

Harris, an enduring family favourite who was made a CBE in the 2006 Queen’s birthday honours, is one of 12 people arrested under Operation Yewtree, the national investigation prompted by allegations against Savile.

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 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 is among a number of high-profile figures from the entertainment industry who have been arrested as part of Operation Yewtree.

The investigation has been 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. Scotland Yard has refused to reveal any details of the allegations against him.

A total of 12 people have been arrested so far under Yewtree, including former pop star Gary Glitter, DJ Dave Lee Travis, comedians Freddie Starr and Jim Davidson, and PR guru Max Clifford. All deny any wrongdoing.

Attesting to the esteem in which Harris was held, he was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list last year.

He was recognised for his service to the performing and visual arts, to charitable organisations and to international relations through the promotion of Australian culture.

His hits include Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport, Two Little Boys and Stairway to Heaven, and he also painted an official portrait of the Queen for her 80th birthday.

More in this section


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox