Rolf Harris believes he’ll be dead within a year as a retrial threatens another six years behind bars. Picture: AFP
Rolf Harris believes he’ll be dead within a year as a retrial threatens another six years behind bars. Picture: AFP

Rolf Harris says prison is 'slowly killing' him

JAILED paedophile Rolf Harris believes he will be dead within a year because prison is "slowly killing" him, according to reports.

The disgraced Australian entertainer, 86, is said to have complained to inmates after learning that his retrial on three sex offence charges could mean another six years behind bars.

According to the Daily Star Sunday, he told inmates: "I will be dead within a year. If I get another jail sentence I will never see freedom again. It will be a death sentence."

Harris is under close supervision at HMP Stafford and is understood to have become increasingly depressed and withdrawn.

Harris was due to be released from his five-year-and-nine-month sentence on July 18.

But he was told he will face a retrial on three sex offence charges and one new count on May 15 when he appeared at Southwark Crown Court last week.

Harris has pleaded not guilty to the new charge, which comes after a jury cleared him of three other sexual assaults but failed to return a verdict on four counts earlier this month.

One of those four counts has been dropped, but the disgraced TV presenter faces a retrial over the other three and one new count.

After deliberating for just under a week, the jury in the latest trial found Harris not guilty of indecently assaulting a young autograph hunter on a visit to a Portsmouth radio station with her mother at the end of the 1970s.

He was also cleared of groping a blind, disabled woman at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London in 1977, and sexually assaulting a woman in her 40s after filming a TV show in 2004.

Harris was also accused of molesting a 14-year-old fan at the Lyceum Theatre in London, two teenagers while filming children's TV shows, and a 19-year-old backing singer as he rehearsed for Glastonbury Festival.

But Judge Alistair McCreath discharged the jury from deliberating on the further four counts last Wednesday, and Crown prosecutors were given a week to decide whether to seek a retrial.

Harris appeared via a video link from the prison during the brief hearing last week.

Prosecutor Julia Walker said the Crown will proceed with a retrial on three counts of indecent assault, but have dropped one count of indecent assault relating to a 19-year-old backing singer.

But the 86-year-old will also face one new charge of indecent assault.

Harris, who was jailed in 2014, maintains his innocence, claiming Operation Yewtree tactics and a "media frenzy" have made him vulnerable to fake victims seeking compensation and publicity.

Stephen Vullo QC, defending, said he was in the process of lodging grounds of appeal in respect to the first trial.
He added: "We are due to do that within the next day or two."

Mr Vullo told the court the retrial could be delayed if appeal proceedings aren't concluded in time.

Judge McCreath, who will retire before the trial, said: "We will need to discover who the trial judge is to be - I shall be history by then."

He continued: "Mr Harris, you have been listening to this I'm sure, the retrial will take place on the 15 May, I have I think formally remanded you in custody in the meantime."

Harris replied: "Thank you."

News Corp Australia

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