Max Clifford jailed for sex crimes

Published Friday, 02 May 2014
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Publicist Max Clifford has been jailed after being convicted of sex crimes, having remained defiant ahead of his sentencing and branded his accusers "fantasists".

Max Clifford jailed for sex crimes
Max Clifford, pictured ahead of his sentencing. (© PA)

The 71-year-old was handed an eight-year jail term at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, following his conviction on eight charges of indecent assault.

After decades of representing celebrity clients, Clifford become the first person to be convicted under the high profile Operation Yewtree sex crime investigation on Monday.

He was found guilty of indecently assaulting women between 1977 and 1984, with prosecutors making the case that he had manipulated his victims and promised to boost their careers.

"These offences may have taken place a long time ago, when inappropriate and trivial sexual behaviour was more likely to be tolerated - but your offending was not trivial, but of a very serious nature," Judge Anthony Leonard told Clifford, as he passed sentence on him.

In the dock, Clifford repeatedly shook his head.

Earlier, outside court, he had continued to protest his innocence and told waiting reporters: "I stand by everything I have said in the last 17 months."

Your victims thought that you were untouchable, something that I think you too believed.

Judge Anthony Leonard

A string of Clifford's clients have moved to distance themselves him, but some supporters in the public gallery broke down in tears as he was sentenced.

Clifford had been cleared by the jury of indecently assaulting two other women and they could not reach a verdict on a third charge, but prosecutors said on Friday morning that they would not seek a retrial on that outstanding charge.

Among the victims were two women abused on separate occasions as children on family holidays in Spain - one when she was just 12 and the other when she was 15.

An 18-year-old dancer was attacked in the toilet of a nightclub by Clifford, while a 19-year-old film extra was targeted in his office.

In order to try to sexually assault his victims, the agent would sometimes pretend to be a Hollywood bigwig who could help their career.

According to Judge Leonard, Clifford had been "leading a double existence" for decades.

The judge further criticised Clifford's "contemptuous" behaviour, in mimicking a television reporter as he recorded a piece to camera and laughing in the dock at the allegations against him.

"I find your behaviour to be quite extraordinary and a further indication that you show no remorse," Judge Leonard told him.

"This additional element of trauma caused by your contemptuous attitude is something that I shall take into account in sentence.

"I can only hope that these proceedings will provide all your victims with some sort of closure."

The prosecution in this case has proved Max Clifford's guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions

Clifford's solicitor has said that he is "seriously" considering an appeal against the sentence, and against the conviction.

Outside court, police thanked the victims for their courage and strength in coming forward.

"Without their support, we would not have secured this conviction," Detective Chief Inspector Michael Orchard said.

"I hope this gives other victims the courage to come forward, knowing we will make every effort to investigate their claims regardless of the passage of time."

He said Scotland Yard had seen an additional 1400 allegations of sexual abuse in the last 12 months.

"Our specially trained officers along with CPS colleagues will continue to work tirelessly to bring sex offenders, whether recent or not, to justice," he added.

© UTV News
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