PR guru Max Clifford has protested his innocence after being arrested by detectives investigating the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal – describing the allegations as “damaging and totally untrue”.
The publicist was held at his Surrey home at 7.40am yesterday on suspicion of sexual offences and taken to Belgravia police station in central London for questioning.
He was arrested as part of Operation Yewtree, the investigation into allegations of sex abuse surrounding Savile and others, before being bailed at around 9.20pm.
Speaking outside the station last night, a shocked-looking Clifford said: “These allegations are damaging and totally untrue.
“On a personal level, they are very distressing for myself, my wife, my family and loved ones.
“Anyone who really knew me all those years ago and those who have known me since will have no doubt that I would never act in the way that I have today been accused.”
Answering questions from reporters, Clifford said he thought he was facing two allegations dating back to 1977 and added that “just the accusations themselves are very damaging.”
Police said in a statement that a man from Surrey arrested on suspicion of sexual offences had been bailed to appear at a date later this month, adding: “We are not prepared to discuss further.”
Scotland Yard is leading the national investigation into claims made against disgraced TV presenter Savile and other figures in the entertainment industry.
Clifford is the fifth suspect to be arrested – and the sixth person to be questioned – in connection with the Yewtree operation, which has already cost around £2 million and involves a team of 30 officers.
Last month the publicist publicly questioned where the police inquiry might lead and said a lot of old stars were worried about being dragged into the investigation because they had appeared on Top Of The Pops or Jim’ll Fix It and had merely posed for photographs with girls and Savile.
“It is a situation which could easily turn into a witch hunt, a lot of big stars are frightened,” he told ITV’s Daybreak.
“Where is it going to end?
“I hope they (the police) concentrate on finding people like Jimmy Savile who were manipulating girls.”
His arrest follows the questioning by detectives last week of a man in his 80s from Berkshire, as part of the investigation that does not directly relate to Savile.
Gary Glitter, comedian Freddie Starr, DJ Dave Lee Travis and a man in his 70s, reported to be former television producer Wilfred De’Ath, have been arrested and bailed as part of the investigation.
Last month Scotland Yard said it was dealing with about 450 potential victims, the vast majority of whom claimed they had fallen prey to Savile.
Officers are looking at three strands within their inquiry: claims against Savile, those against Savile and others, and those against others.