Rolf Harris’ wife, Alwen Hughes, has spoken of the entertainer’s torment at his arrest for alleged sexual offences in Operation Yewtree.
Alwen Hughes, a Welsh sculptress, told a friend that neither of them had been able to sleep since the historical allegations of abuse had surfaced.
Rolf Harris, 83, was finally named this week after being quizzed by police in Jimmy Savile case late last year and arrested last month.
Alwen Hughes, who wed Rolf Harris in 1958, told the friend: “My poor husband. It’s terrible, we’ve been really worrying about it. We’ve both been having sleepless nights over it all.”
Meanwhile, reports in Australia say detectives investigating the claims plan to fly to Sydney next month to interview two potential witnesses.
According to the Sydney Sunday Telegraph, officers from Operation Yewtree – the British Metropolitan Police sexual abuse inquiry prompted by revelations about fellow children’s television Jimmy Savile – planned to take statements from the two people face-to-face Down Under.
Friends are concerned about Rolf Harris as he has admitted suffering depression in the past. Talking about that period in an interview Rolf Harris said: “I didn’t know what to do with myself, I didn’t know what to think.
“I now know what people mean when they say <<I’ve got clinical depression>>. I’d never felt so low. There’s no way out of the blackness.”
In a chat with Piers Morgan two years ago Rolf Harris said his depression had affected his family.
“They said I was a total stranger,” the entertainer said.
“They had never seen me like this… it was such a black period, like my life was over.”
The friend who spoke to Alwen Hughes and has known the couple for more than 50 years, said he could not believe Rolf Harris had done anything wrong. He added: “It was important to let him know I am there for him.
“Rolf is a lovely, loyal devoted husband and father and I can’t imagine him ever doing anything to tarnish his image. His wife was grateful for my call. She said it was good to know who their real friends were.”
Melbourne-based promoter Dennis Smith, who twice took Rolf Harris on tour in Australia, said the Two Little Boys singer was a “lovely man” with an original talent.
Of their time on the road Dennis Smith added Rolf Harris was “a laid-back quiet guy, not a party animal”.
The gates of Rolf Harris’s Thameside home in Bray, Berks, remained shut yesterday, but a handful of callers were let in.
Channel 5 said it had dropped reruns of Rolf’s Animal Clinic and children’s animation Olive the Ostrich pending the outcome of their star’s “legal matter”.
Rolf Harris, who denies the allegations, was interviewed under caution in November. He was arrested on March 28 and bailed until May.
Scotland Yard refused to comment.
Police are on the verge of making an announcement over whether or not 11 men investigated under Operation Yewtree will be charged with sex crimes.
The probe was launched last October after Jimmy Savile was exposed as a predatory paedophile with at least 450 victims.
Officers have been working closely with lawyers at the Crown Prosecution Service, who will have the final say on bringing cases to court.
Famous names arrested so far include singer Gary Glitter, comics Freddie Starr and Jim Davidson, DJ Dave Lee Travis and PR guru Max Clifford. All deny any wrongdoing.