After weeks of questions and speculation, Rolf Harris has finally been named as the Berkshire man arrested in connection with the Jimmy Savile sex scandal. It had long been assumed that Harris was the man in question but no mainstream media outlet had been brave enough to name him as the suspect but today British tabloid The Sun has made the move to end the media silence.
On 29th March, a Scotland Yard spokesperson informed the media that “an 82-year-old man from Berkshire was arrested by officers on Operation Yewtree on suspicion of sexual offences”. At the time, Harris was living in Berkshire and was 82, turning 83 the day after his arrest. The Sun also confirms that Operation Yewtree officers had been investigating Harris for four months after raiding his home in late November.
Harris, who was not at home at the time of the raid, was interviewed under caution on 29th November after fronting to London police. There have been numerous reports that he then checked himself in to high-profile psychiatric clinic The Priory, despite Harris making numerous public appearances since his questioning.
The media’s reticence to name Rolf Harris has been something of a mystery, with thousands upon thousands of people naming him as the arrested man on reputable news blogs and, of course, the public court of social media.
Editor of trashy British tabloid The Daily Star Tom Savage was the first media member to publicly name the Australian entertainer, with the news spreading like wildfire on Twitter soon after. Our own Human Headline Derryn Hinch very openly questioned the media’s reluctance to name Harris.
The Sun have not explained why they chose to now name Harris, whether new evidence of his identity had come to light or whether they choose to simply break the silence.
Harris is now of 11 people arrested by Yewtree, initiated last year after public outcry surrounding Jimmy Savile’s alleged history of sexual abuse of minors and the police’s failure to expose him. Harris’ arrest came from investigations under the category of “Others”, defined as relating to alleged complaints against other people unconnected to the Jimmy Savile investigations but, according to the police spokesperson, “generally people who were in the public spotlight at around that time”.
There are still no details surrounding the nature of Harris’ alleged offences. The singer is currently on bail and will front court some time in May.
BREAKING: Entertainer Rolf Harris, 82, was yesterday arrested by detectives from Operation Yewtree on suspicion of sexual offences.
— Tom Savage (@journotom) March 29, 2013
Strange media not naming Rolf Harris after Police interviews in widened Jimmy Saville inquiry. Would name footballer here if accused.
— Derryn Hinch (@HumanHeadline) March 29, 2013