* Harris showed no remorse for harm to his victims, judge
* Biggest name to face trial so far in "Operation Yewtree"
probe into UK celebrities
* Five decades at pinnacle of show business
(Adds reaction, background)
By Costas Pitas
LONDON, July 4 Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris,
a household name in his native Australia and adopted home
Britain, was jailed for almost six years on Friday for
repeatedly abusing young girls during decades as a beloved host
of children's television.
Handing down the sentence, Judge Nigel Sweeney said the
84-year-old host of shows like "Rolf Harris Cartoon Time" had
shown no remorse for the harm he had done to his victims.
Harris was found guilty earlier this week of 12 counts of
assaulting four girls, some as young as seven or eight, between
1968 and 1986.
It was the second conviction in a long-running investigation
into sex abuse by British celebrities that has led to soul
searching in the country, revealing that some of its most
prominent stars of the 1970s and 1980s were serial paedophiles
who evaded detection for decades.
"It is clear from the evidence that what you did has had a
significant adverse effect on each victim," the judge told
Harris, detailing how one woman had battled with alcoholism as a
direct result of his abuse.
"You have shown no remorse for your crimes at all."
An artist and musician who first earned fame in the 1950s
with the top 10 hit novelty song "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport",
Harris went on to present prime-time TV shows mostly aimed at
children during five decades at the pinnacle of show business.
In 2005 he painted Queen Elizabeth's portrait.
Harris was the biggest name to go on trial since British
police launched "Operation Yewtree" to investigate celebrity
child abuse, following revelations that late BBC TV host Jimmy
Savile had been a prolific child abuser.
Harris sat motionless as the judge read out the sentence at
a packed courtroom at London's Southwark Crown Court. He was
later led from the dock, wearing a grey suit, white shirt and
During the trial, the prosecution had portrayed the bearded,
bespectacled entertainer as a predator who groomed and abused
one woman for her entire teenage and young-adult life.
The London court was told he first assaulted the woman when
she got out of the shower aged 13, and then repeatedly abused
her until she was 28 years old.
Police launched Operation Yewtree in the wake of the
disclosures that Savile, who died in 2011 at 84, had managed to
escape detection while abusing hundreds of children over the
course of decades as one of Britain's best known celebrities,
using his fame to gain access to victims and deflect suspicion.
Since then, a dozen ageing British media luminaries have
been the target of investigations over decades-old child abuse
The country's most well known publicist, Max Clifford, was
found guilty in May of indecently assaulting teenage girls some
30 years ago as part of the investigation.
(Writing by Kate Holton; Editing by Peter Graff)