Rolf Harris is ‘very sick and unwell’ after neck cancer battle, author says


A private ambulance has been photographed outside the riverside home of Rolf Harris, who has been ‘very sick’ with neck cancer since leaving prison, MailOnline can reveal today.

The disgraced TV star, 93, has been struggling to talk or eat and has been living as a near-recluse at his £5million home in Berkshire since he was feed from jail in 2017 for a string of sex offences.

His wife Alwen, 91, a jeweller and sculptor, is in a wheelchair because of Alzheimer’s disease but the couple, who married in 1958 and have one child, live together with the help of around the clock care.

Yesterday a private ambulance was parked outside the property, leaving at around 6pm. MailOnline has asked Harris’ spokesman to comment. 

Private investigator and author William Merritt told MailOnline he saw him in late 2022, and he was gravely ill. He said: ‘Rolf has been very sick. When I saw him he was able to speak to me. He was with it, but he was obviously unwell’.

Mr Merritt said Rolf has had neck cancer and there have been serious concerns about his health, although he was ‘getting on with things’. Due to the cancer, Rolf is said to ‘gurgle’ when talking and is hard to understand.

His wife Alwen has also been seriously ill with Alzheimer’s disease.  ‘She’s very frail’, he said. 

A private ambulance with its rear doors open at the home of Rolf Harris and his wife Alwen yesterday

A private ambulance with its rear doors open at the home of Rolf Harris and his wife Alwen yesterday

The vehicle, used by undertakers, left at around 6pm. The Harris family has declined to comment

The vehicle, used by undertakers, left at around 6pm. The Harris family has declined to comment

Rolf Harris (pictured during the pandemic) can no longer talk or eat and requires around the clock care after being diagnosed with neck cancer

Rolf Harris (pictured during the pandemic) can no longer talk or eat and requires around the clock care after being diagnosed with neck cancer

Rolf Harris (second left) and his wife Alwen Hughes (second right) are recluses and rarely leave their home in Bray, Berkshire

Rolf Harris (second left) and his wife Alwen Hughes (second right) are recluses and rarely leave their home in Bray, Berkshire

Harris’s daughter Bindi had no comment to make when contacted at her home in a Somerset village. Her husband Craig also refused to comment. 

A family friend told MailOnline: ’In recent years Bindi has nothing to say about her father. She gets very stressed when asked about him and prefers not to talk about him’.

It understood Rolf Harris' health took a turn for the worse after the sudden death of his beloved poodle earlier in 2022.

It understood Rolf Harris’ health took a turn for the worse after the sudden death of his beloved poodle earlier in 2022.

The Harris family solicitor lawyer Daniel Burke told MailOnline he has had no contact with the immediate family. He said he had not spoken to Rolf’s only daughter Bindi and had no instructions to prepare or issue statement concerning his failing health. 

It understood Rolf Harris’ health took a turn for the worse after the sudden death of his beloved poodle earlier in 2022. 

Harris married his sculptor wife Alwen in March 1958 after meeting at art school. The couple have one daughter Bindi.

Best known for hits Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport and Jake The Peg, as well as a string of children’s TV hits, Harris also famously painted the 80th birthday portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

He was the face of British Paints for more than three decades before he was dumped by the brand when he was arrested in 2013.

The following year, Harris was found guilty on 12 counts of indecent assault, and was sentenced to five years and nine months in jail .

The assaults include one on an eight-year-old autograph hunter, two on girls in their early teens, and a catalogue of abuse against his daughter’s friend of over 16 years.

He was released on parole in May 2017 after serving three years behind bars.

Of the 12 convictions, one was overturned on appeal in November 2017, and a jury chose not to convict him in two additional cases in the same year.

The convicted paedophile, 93, lives as reclusive life in the English village of Bray.

Mr Merritt said last year that Rolf now prefers to be on his own and doesn’t ‘particularly like kids’ as he ‘hates the noise’.

His wife Alwen, 91, a jeweller and sculptor, is in a wheelchair because of Alzheimer¿s disease but the couple, who married in 1958 and have one child, live together with the help of around the clock care.

His wife Alwen, 91, a jeweller and sculptor, is in a wheelchair because of Alzheimer’s disease but the couple, who married in 1958 and have one child, live together with the help of around the clock care.

Rolf Harris (pictured arriving at Southwark Crown Court with daughter Bindi and niece Jenny in 2014) was found guilty on 12 counts of indecent assault

Rolf Harris (pictured arriving at Southwark Crown Court with daughter Bindi and niece Jenny in 2014) was found guilty on 12 counts of indecent assault

Rolf Harris (pictured performing in the early 1970s) was a much-loved entertainer in Australia and the UK until his arrest in 2013

Rolf Harris (pictured performing in the early 1970s) was a much-loved entertainer in Australia and the UK until his arrest in 2013

‘(He’s) battling a cancer of the neck, and gurgles when he talks. It’s difficult to understand him,’ Mr Merritt said.

‘As soon as one of two people walk into the room, he turns into a big kid again. He’s an artistic type, and he’ll try to perform on cue, even when he’s unwell.’ 

Harris’ health has deteriorated in recent years and that he was hospitalised during his stint in prison when his diabetes spiralled out of control.

‘He’s in poor health and has declined rapidly. He doesn’t come out any more and when he does it’s only ever with his carer,’ one neighbour said in 2019.

Harris hasn’t spoken publicly since his release from jail in 2017 but released a statement in Mr Merritt’s recently released book Rolf Harris: The Defence Team’s Special Investigator Reveals the Truth Behind the Trials.

‘I understand we live in the post truth era and know few will want to know what really happened during the three criminal trials I faced – it’s easier to condemn me and liken me to people like Saville and Glitter,’ Harris said.

Rolf Harris' is pictured with a dog at the RSPCA Animal Hospital in Putney, UK

Rolf Harris’ is pictured with a dog at the RSPCA Animal Hospital in Putney, UK

Rolf Harris (pictured five years ago) is battling neck cancer and is now fed via a tube

Rolf Harris (pictured five years ago) is battling neck cancer and is now fed via a tube

‘I was convicted of offences I did not commit in my first trial. That is not just my view but the view of the Court of Appeal who overturned one of my convictions. I had already served the prison sentence by the time of the appeal.

‘I changed my legal team after the first trial, and I was told that if the truth was out there, William (Merritt) would find it and he did.

‘The evidence he found proved my innocence to two subsequent juries.

‘I’d be in prison serving a sentence for crimes I did not commit if it were not for William’s investigation.

‘It is difficult to put into words the injustice that I feel.’



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