Updated: 05/27/2014 19:25 | By Agence France-Presse

I'm 'touchy-feely', Rolf Harris tells UK sex assault trial

Australian entertainer Rolf Harris admitted being a "touchy-feely" person, as he gave evidence for the first time Tuesday in his sexual assault trial in London.


I'm 'touchy-feely', Rolf Harris tells UK sex assault trial

Veteran Australian artist and entertainer Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court in central London on May 12, 2014 - by Ben Stansall

The 84-year-old artist -- a fixture on British screens for decades who once painted a portrait of Queen Elizabeth -- denied indecently assaulting a friend of his daughter while on holiday.

He told Southwark Crown Court that he did hug the girl, but explained that he would hug most people.

"I'm a very touchy-feely sort of person," the television presenter said.

Put to him by his defence lawyer Sonia Woodley that the alleged victim found it "creepy" when he hugged her, Harris denied that he had done so in a sexual way.

He was questioned about an incident that allegedly took place when the girl travelled with Harris and his daughter to Hawaii.

"She says that when she came out of the shower you were there and you indecently assaulted her. Did you do that?" Woodley asked.

Harris replied: "No, it didn't happen."

Harris is accused of 12 counts of indecent assault against four female complainants, aged from seven or eight to 19, between 1968 and 1986.

Seven of the counts relate to his daughter's friend, who claims Harris assaulted her over several years.

The bearded, bespectacled star is well-known as a painter, entertainer and television presenter and once topped the charts with songs including "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" and "Two Little Boys".

Harris painted an 80th birthday portrait of the queen in 2005, took part in her diamond jubilee celebrations in 2012, and has been honoured by both Britain and Australia.

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