TV star Rolf Harris walks free after new sex charges fail

 Entertainer Rolf Harris leaving Southwark Crown Court in London, on May 22, 2017.
Entertainer Rolf Harris leaving Southwark Crown Court in London, on May 22, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Veteran children's entertainer Rolf Harris, convicted of a string of sex attacks on women and girls, walked free from a British court on Tuesday (May 30) after a jury could not reach a verdict on further charges.

The 87-year-old Australian, an artist and television presenter who also topped the music charts in both Britain and Australia, had been on trial for allegedly abusing girls as young as 13 between 1971 and 1983.

Harris had denied the four charges against him.

"Whilst I'm pleased that this is finally all over, I feel no sense of victory, only relief," Harris said, in a statement read out by his lawyer outside the London court.

"I'm 87 years old, my wife is in ill-health and we simply want to spend our remaining time together in peace," he said.

Harris was released from prison earlier this month to attend the trial after serving less than three years of a five year and nine-month sentence handed down in 2014 for sex attacks in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Harris, whose fast drawing skills fascinated millions of children, was a household name in Britain for decades and even painted Queen Elizabeth II's portrait to mark her 80th birthday.