Shamed Rolf Harris downfall and why paedo was released early from jail

Australian entertainer Rolf Harris spent 60 years in the limelight before his sick crimes caught up with him.

Harris was arrested in 2013 as part of the Operation Yewtree probe into historic sex offences by celebrities and those with public profiles.

Following a trial a year later, he was handed a jail sentence of just shy of six years.

The 92-year-old convicted paedophile was released from prison in 2017 after serving half of his term.

He resides at the Berkshire home he shares with his wife of more than 60 years, Alwen Hughes. He is reported to be gravely ill.

The presenter and artist spends his days at home needing round-the-clock care, with multiple reports suggesting he is suffering from neck cancer.

What happened to Rolf Harris?

Harris was a household name from the 1950s onwards.

Known for his song Tie Me Kangaroo Down and for fronting the TV programmes Animal Hospital and Rolf’s Cartoon Club, he was so embedded in British culture that he was invited to paint an official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in 2005 to mark her 80th birthday.

But following his arrest and during his eight-week trial at Southwark Crown Court, Harris’ dark past was unveiled.

He was convicted of 12 sex attacks on girls as young as seven over a 40-year period, and was handed a jail sentence of five years and nine months.

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Police had begun to investigate Harris in the wake of the scandal surrounding Jimmy Saville, a children’s TV presenter who was discovered to be a predatory paedophile after his death.

The cops discovered that Harris had abused his daughter's friend when she was only 13 years old.

His other victims included an eight-year-old seeking an autograph and two girls in their early teens.

One count, that Harris indecently assaulted an eight-year-old girl in Portsmouth, was overturned as unsafe in 2017.

Why was Rolf Harris released from jail?

Under laws in England and Wales, caged convicts can be released on parole after serving half their sentence, as long as they are not deemed to be a threat to the public.

There were initially complaints that Harris’ sentence was unduly lenience, but then-attorney general Dominic Grieve said he would not be challenging it in the Court of Appeal.

The disgraced star was let out of HM Prison Stafford in May 2017, having served half of his sentence

He has returned to be with his wife at their Berkshire home where she too receives care as a result of having Alzheimer’s disease.

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Alwen had stood by her husband, attending every day of his trial — bar his sentencing — and visited him while he was in prison.

Five years ago, after a jury failed to reach a verdict during a retrial against Harris, the singer’s solicitor read a statement from him saying: "Whilst I am pleased that this is finally over, I feel no sense of victory — just relief.

"I am 87 years old, my wife is in ill health and we simply want to spend our remaining time together."

In recent years, Harris has been snapped going to the Maidenhead branch of B&Q and walking his dog in his local area.

The death of his beloved poodle is said to have set him on a downward spiral in terms of his health.


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