Clifford defiant as he faces sentencing

Celebrity publicist Max Clifford was defiant outside court today as he arrived to be sentenced for indecent assaults on young women.

Clifford defiant as he faces sentencing

Celebrity publicist Max Clifford was defiant outside court today as he arrived to be sentenced for indecent assaults on young women.

The 71-year-old former PR supremo to the stars stands by everything he has said since his arrest, he told reporters at London's Southwark Crown Court.

During his eight-week trial he branded his victims "fantasists" and "opportunists".

He will be sentenced today for eight historic counts of indecent assault, having been found guilty on Monday.

Speaking before entering the court, where he faces a probable jail term, he said: "I stand by everything I have said in the last 17 months."

Wearing a blue jacket over a white shirt and jeans, Clifford said: "I just have to make the best of it, that's what I've got to do.

"I've got nothing to add to what I've said in the past."

He paused for a mass of photographers and TV crews to get pictures and footage in what could be the last images of Clifford as a free man.

Asked how he was feeling ahead of the sentencing, Mr Clifford said it was "not the best day of my life".

He continued: "I just have to make the best of what the court gives me. It is the same as I have felt since it started 17 months ago, it is like living under a dark cloud.

"It is the same for my family... for my daughter and everyone close to me."

Asked whether he would appeal against his conviction, he said: "Everything like that will be handled by my lawyers."

As proceedings began, prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC confirmed that no re-trial will be sought over one count on which the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Clifford was also cleared of another two counts of indecent assault.

The first victim, who was abused by Clifford after he met her family on holiday in Spain, said her education suffered after the assaults.

Ms Cottage told the court: "She felt that it impacted on her relationship with her parents because she felt that she had deceived them."

Clifford's appearances on television and the radio "brought back feelings of intimidation and fear" and she was "extremely upset" when he denied the allegations in front of millions of people "calling them (his accusers) complete liars and saying they were anonymous".

Ms Cottage added: "The experience of being made to go to court was horrifying for her. Her first sexual experience was the abuse perpetrated by the defendant and she missed out on what should have been a loving experience with someone her own age."

She also said she was upset to see Clifford refusing to apologise on the court steps after his conviction, and later when questioned by a television reporter.

Another victim aspired to work as a stuntwoman but gave up on her dream career after what Clifford did to her, Ms Cottage said.

The woman was abused in the early 1980s and later appeared as an extra in the Roger Moore James Bond film 'Octopussy'.

"She aspired to be a stunt double in films but could not follow her dream after what happened to her," Ms Cottage told the court.

Another of Clifford's victims was later offered good roles in the film industry but turned them down because "she was afraid of what she would be exposed to" following her treatment at his hands, Ms Cottage said.

Richard Horwell QC, for Clifford, warned that his client should not be sentenced with an eye on the fact that his is the first successful prosecution under Operation Yewtree, launched after the Jimmy Savile child sex revelations.

Mr Horwell told the court: "He is not to be made an example of for a number of failed prosecutions.

"He is to be sentenced for these eight counts and no more, and the totality principle must apply.

"Mr Horwell also drew attention to Clifford's charity work over many years, saying he had raised hundreds of thousands of pounds "if not millions" for good causes.

Mr Horwell added: "This is a man who in other times of his life has shown true compassion and understanding for those who have suffered indescribable misfortune and grief.

"The good he has done over a long period of time should not be ignored."

Mr Horwell said that the last date on the final guilty charge was 1984, meaning Clifford had not offended for decades.

He said: "That means that there has passed a period of over 29 years in which there has been no offending. That we say is a powerful factor in Mr Clifford's favour."

The court also heard from a number of women who said Clifford had always behaved appropriately towards them and the children with whom he spent time.

Mr Horwell said that his age and physical condition also mean that he is unlikely to reoffend.

He said: "This shows in our submission that there is no risk of his reoffending.

"The public do not require protection from him today."

Clifford was remanded in custody until sentencing at 2pm.

More in this section

Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd