UK & World News

  • 2 May 2014, 19:15

Clifford Jailed For Eight Years For Sex Crimes

Shamed publicist Max Clifford has been sentenced to eight years in prison for a string of sexual offences.

The 71-year-old, who was found guilty last month of eight counts of indecent assault against four women aged between 15 and 19, will have to serve at least half his sentence.

He was told by Judge Anthony Leonard: "The reason why (your crimes) were not brought to light sooner was because of your dominant character.

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

The judge also condemned Clifford's "contemptuous attitude" and said some of the assaults he committed would be considered rape under current legislation.

Sky's Ashish Joshi, at Southwark Crown Court, said the PR guru appeared "impassive" as the sentence was read out.

"He looked straight at the judge and showed no reaction whatsoever," he said.

"As the lewdest of sex acts were described, he would look away. He would stare at the walls and on a couple of occasions, he shook his head as if to say, 'I still can't believe it'.

"That was mentioned by the judge, who said the fact he continued to dismiss the evidence against him and trivialise the whole event was the reason he was sentenced to eight years."

Sky's Nick Pisa, who was also in court, added: "Clifford initially remained emotionless but then turned to the gallery, took off his hearing loop, switched off his mobile phone and smiled at his friends before he was led away."

Clifford refused to apologise to his victims when he arrived at court, but spent nearly five minutes posing for photographers, at times standing on the street with his hands in his pockets.

He told Sky's Tom Parmenter: "I stand by everything I've said in the past."

Asked whether that included his description of the women as "liars" and "fantasists", the PR guru refused to answer and strolled away, posing for photographers as he wandered towards the court steps.

During his trial, Clifford crept up behind Parmenter, mimicking the reporter's actions as he recorded a piece for Sky News.

The judge referred to the bizarre incident - which was not broadcast during the trial - in his sentencing remarks, describing it as "extraordinary" and proof he had shown "no remorse".

Clifford used to represent some of the UK's top celebrities, including music mogul Simon Cowell and Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis.

Both men have severed ties with his company, Max Clifford Associates, which was expected to be shut down after the judge passed sentence.

Speaking outside his Surrey home before being driven to court, Clifford admitted: "It's not the best day of my life, is it?"

"I just have to face up to it," he added.

In sentencing Clifford, who was driven in a prison van from the court to Wandsworth prison in south London, the judge had to use guidelines in force when the offences were committed in the 1970s and 1980s.

DCI Michael Orchard, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "Without the support of Clifford's victims, we would not have secured these successful convictions, and I commend them for their courage, strength and confidence."

"I hope this case gives other victims courage to come forward."

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