Clifford guilty of indecent assaults

PR guru Max Clifford was yesterday found guilty of a string of indecent assaults on teenage girls in the first conviction under sex crime inquiry Operation Yewtree.

Clifford guilty of indecent assaults

The 71-year-old celebrity publicist was convicted of eight indecent assaults and cleared of two at Southwark Crown Court, with the jury unable to reach a verdict on one other count.

Clifford had repeatedly denied the claims branding his accusers “fantasists”.

The verdicts were given by the forewoman of the jury on its eighth day of deliberations.

Clifford sat still in the dock as his fate was revealed, breathing deeply as he listened through a hearing loop. The media expert then walked out of the courtroom with friends and supporters in silence, one of them patting him on the shoulder.

He was released on bail until his sentencing on Friday, but Judge Anthony Leonard warned him that he may face jail. “You must realise that the fact I have given you bail is no indication of what the final sentence will be,” he said.

The court heard from a string of women who testified about Clifford’s behaviour, romping naked in his New Bond St office.

Prosecutors had portrayed him as a well-practiced manipulator, who promised to boost his victims’ careers and get them to meet celebrities in exchange for sexual favours.

He offered to get them casting appointments, pretending to be Hollywood bigwigs including Steven Spielberg, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, and Michael Winner on the phone, and bizarrely bragged about having a tiny penis.

Victims included one girl who said Clifford abused her on a number of occasions after he met her family on holiday in Spain in 1977 when she was 15.

She claimed he would come round to her house, impressing her parents and speaking about how he could make her a star, before molesting her in his car.

Another alleged victim, who was an extra in the film Octopussy, claimed she was targeted at Clifford’s office in 1981 or 1982, aged 19.

The jury could not reach a verdict on a count involving a woman who claimed Clifford groped her in his car in 1966.

He was cleared of another two allegations, one woman who said she was pushed up against a wall in his offices when he groped her and kissed her in 1975, and another who claimed she was groped in a taxi in 1978.

Clifford spoke only briefly to journalists as he left court. “I have been told by my lawyers not to say anything at all,” he said.

Spotlight on size of publicist’s manhood

By Ellen Branagh and Margaret Davis

For someone who has spent years exposing some of the most intimate parts of people’s lives, little did Max Clifford know one of his own most personal details — the size of his manhood — would become a focal point of his trial.

The publicist’s court case became dominated by a subject likely to make any man feel uncomfortable as the exact size of his penis was given to the court in an attempt to dismiss evidence from women who claimed he bragged that it was “tiny” as he indecently assaulted them.

Some claims described Clifford, 71, who denied all the charges, as having a “micro-penis” measuring two-and-a-half inches, while one woman said that the PR guru was “enormous”.

The issue was eventually resolved after a doctor confirmed the exact length of the media magnate’s manhood as an “average” five-and-a-quarter inches “when flaccid”, but not without discussions about the subject becoming a key part of proceedings.

One woman called as a witness at Southwark Crown Court claimed she went to a film audition at Clifford’s office when she was 19, where he exposed himself and told her: “Look at my penis. Isn’t it tiny? What can I do with this?”

Giving evidence, the woman said he exposed himself and held his penis in his hand before criticising its size, asking “How can I satisfy a woman with this?”, while other evidence alleged the PR consultant took his trousers down, saying “Is this the smallest one you’ve ever seen?” during an indecent assault.

The measurement by a doctor came as part of Clifford’s lawyers’ battle to dismiss the women’s claims, proving his penis was neither tiny nor enormous, just “average”.

The expert’s results proved, claimed Clifford’s barrister, Richard Horwell QC, that he was “certainly not freakishly small and certainly not enormous”. Clifford himself said he had always judged himself to be “average”, saying:

“I haven’t really compared it, but average I would think... No one ever said to me that I’ve got a small penis or a large penis. “Based on everything I’ve seen in changing rooms, you’re with men, I would have thought the same, average.”

The subject sparked several moments of levity amid a raft of serious allegations against Clifford. As one woman who claimed Clifford was well- endowed admitted

“I have a small mouth. I do, my dentist has always said...”, judge Anthony Leonard QC was forced to send the giggling jury out of the courtroom to calm down. He told them: “It is inevitable in a case dealing with this sort of graphic detail that members of the jury want to burst out laughing. “I can remember a very boring court case and we — I wasn’t a judge then — became helpless with laughter and the judge had tears in his eyes and it took over 25 minutes to recover.

“But we have got to remember that this is a court of law and we are dealing with serious allegations, and, in fairness to the witness and the rest of the court, you have got to learn not to react to what’s happening. Can I ask you to settle down and remember where you are?”

As the king of scandal, Clifford was not immune to the irony of his own intimate details being revealed to the world. At one point, he sparked a laugh himself, declaring: “I have heard more conversations about my penis in the last three weeks than in the last 70 years.”

And as they summed up their cases, the topic remained a focus for both the prosecution and defence barristers. Clifford’s lawyer Mr Horwell pointed out that the measurements of the pensioner’s penis showed it was “within average range for a Caucasian male of Mr Clifford’s age”, adding:

“In all probability it could have reduced a little in size over the last 30 years.”

But prosecutor Rosina Cottage said “inconsistencies” about its size had been used by the defence to “deflect” from important evidence, telling jurors: “What was said about his penis and what he did with it is what’s important, not the size.” Whatever the outcome of the trial, Clifford can be sure that all those involved — and most of the British public — will have an enduring memory of one particular aspect of the case, and not one it is likely he could have predicted.

Life lived in the glare of publicity for poacher turned gamekeeper

By Margaret Davis

Veteran celebrity agent Max Clifford has enjoyed a career behind the headlines for decades, bringing much desired and less welcome publicity into the lives of household names.

As a PR expert he represented celebrities including pop mogul Simon Cowell, reality TV star Jade Goody and boxer Muhammad Ali.

He also brokered deals with the tabloids for kiss-and-tell stories such as Antonia de Sancha’s affair with David Mellor, Tracy Temple’s fling with John Prescott and actor Jude Law’s tryst with nanny Daisy Wright.

The youngest of four children, Clifford, who left school at 15 with no qualifications, trained as a journalist after he was sacked from his first job as a shop assistant in a department store.

He went on to work for EMI in 1962, where he was tasked with promoting acts including the Beatles, before branching out on his own and setting up Max Clifford Associates in 1970. Clifford’s extensive contacts in Fleet Street — he described himself as “often poacher and gamekeeper at the same time” — meant he was increasingly turned to as a commentator on matters involving the media.

When aged celebrities began being arrested on suspicion of sex crimes 18 months ago, Clifford took to the radio claiming that former household names were “frightened to death” of falling under suspicion.

Operation Yewtree was launched in October 2012 by Scotland Yard after Jimmy Savile was finally exposed as a prolific paedophile in an ITV documentary. Days after the inquiry started, Clifford appeared on LBC and said in the 1960s and 1970s some stars “never asked for anybody’s birth certificate”.

He said: “All kinds of things went on and I do mean young girls throwing themselves at them in their dressing rooms at concert halls, at gigs, whatever. They never asked for anybody’s birth certificate and they were young lads ... suddenly everyone’s dream was a reality.”

He added: “We are talking about a lot of people that were huge names in the 60s and 70s and a lot of them barely remember what they did last week, genuinely. For them to try and recount what happened in a dressing room in 1965 or 1968 or 1972, genuinely they are frightened to death,” he said.

The father of one, now 71, has also shown his softer side, helping to raise millions of euro for charities and helping care for his daughter Louise, who was diagnosed with arthritis aged six.

Her mother Liz died from cancer in 2003, and Clifford himself has suffered from the disease, but he only revealed he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer after his treatment had finished. He remarried in 2010, tying the knot with his former PA Jo Westwood.

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