Trial exposed Harris' fractured relationship with only daughter

The Northern Echo: Rolf Harris with his wife Alwen and his then 13-year-old daughter, Bindi, at Buckingham Palace after he was awarded the OBE at an investiture Rolf Harris with his wife Alwen and his then 13-year-old daughter, Bindi, at Buckingham Palace after he was awarded the OBE at an investiture

VETERAN entertainer Rolf Harris's trial laid bare his fractured relationship with his only daughter, Bindi Nicholls.

She described how the performer's TV persona was in sharp contrast with the way he would behave at home behind closed doors, often being withdrawn and showing little interest in her.

Despite the daily show of solidarity by the Harris family as they were photographed walking into court together, there were clear indications that the pair did not always get on.

Jurors were read an email in which Mrs Nicholls described the prospect of inheriting her father's multimillion-pound fortune as like being told "you might be winning the lottery".

She also told the court that Harris was "switched off" when he was away from television cameras and adoring fans.

"Dad didn't really take much notice of me or anybody at home," she said.

"I think when he is out in the world he wants to give everyone his time and everyone is new and he can tell new jokes.

"But when he is at home he is very much switched off, very quiet, quite often working, making something."

Her father had previously admitted in an interview with Piers Morgan that he had gone away for work immediately after Mrs Nicholls's birth, flying to America to fulfil a contract and leaving new mother Alwen alone.

He told the former Daily Mirror editor: "I didn't know I could pull out of the contract. You don't at that age... it's an awful sadness."

In the email from Mrs Nicholls to her father, brought in by the prosecution during his defence case, she questioned him about his financial affairs, asking: "How do you want to be remembered?"

Mrs Nicholls, who is also an artist, had been told that Harris was sitting on £11 million, but complained that she felt guilty when buying supplies for her work.

She wrote: "It's like being told that you might be winning the lottery at some point and you get excited and dream about the things you 'could' do."

Under questioning by prosecutor Sasha Wass QC, the 50-year-old also admitted that the family walked into court together each day, despite travelling to Southwark separately.

She told the court: "My husband takes me to my dad's manager's house. We then get the Tube...to London Bridge, then I go to the coffee shop, then when mum and dad get here, I go down and sit in the car, then we drive round and then we get out and have photos taken by the press and then I sit in the cafe all day."

Ms Wass asked: "So the whole thing is effectively staged?"

Bindi replied: "No, it's just I want to be there for my mum and dad and I want to be seen to be."

Her resentment of her father's fame was made clear in an interview with the Guardian in 2003, when she said she had previously banned pictures of Harris from her home to stop guests asking about him, and wanted to avoid "utterly tedious" conversations about her parentage.

She complained that despite her mother being an accomplished sculptress, they had to focus "on one person" when she was a child and she had worked on her relationship with her father, "especially on getting him to pay me attention".

She told the newspaper: "As a child, I got fed-up with everyone going on and on about Dad because he was on telly and because they imagined he was painting paintings on my walls, being funny all the time.

"It simply wasn't true - he was always busy, rushing off, giving his all to everyone else in the world."

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