UK & World News

  • 25 March 2014, 20:17

Clifford 'Shocked And Amazed' By Sex Claims

Celebrity publicist Max Clifford told police he was ''shocked and amazed'' by allegations he indecently assaulted a teenage girl - and insisted he was not a paedophile, a court has heard.

Clifford, 70, was questioned by detectives after he was arrested in connection with allegations made by a woman he had met when she was 15 and on holiday in Spain.

The court heard she told police he forced her to commit sex acts on him in his car and she had eventually written an anonymous letter to him describing him as a paedophile and which was found in his bedside cabinet.

Clifford was arrested at his home in December 2012, and jurors were told that when police put her claims to him he said he was "shocked and amazed at the extent of these old allegations".

He went on to say: "I have never forced any female into any form of sex acts against her will."

Clifford told police he was a publicist with numerous clients and they came to him for a "leg up not a leg over", Southwark Crown Court heard.

The court heard that detectives then asked him about the letter the woman had sent him in 2011 accusing him of the assaults and he again denied them and ever meeting the girl.

He told detectives the letter was ''nasty and anonymous'' adding he normally got "lots of nice ones" and he "exposed paedophiles and have never been accused of being one".

Clifford told police: "I am not a paedophile. The allegations are totally untrue."

When asked why he kept the letter he said he had taken it home "to show my wife" adding: "If there was any substance or significance I would have destroyed it."

Jurors heard Clifford also told police he used false names to "check people out" but denied using the ploy when contacting the teenager and asking her to talk dirty to him.

Earlier the courtheard from a woman who described how she had been in care when she said Clifford forced her to perform a sex act on him after telling her he could get her a part in a film.

The 42-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said Clifford exposed himself twice before leading her to a toilet in his office where the alleged incident took place.

At the time in 1988 she was a 16-year-old girl who was in care because she had been sexually abused by her father - details she was happy to share with Clifford.

He told her he could get her a role in a film with Blade Runner star Rutger Hauer.

Speaking via video link she described how, after meeting Clifford in his office, he told her to go to a nearby department store where the director of the film would call her.

When she answered, a man with a very feminine voice, told her "find Max Clifford's Achilles Heel" before discussing the Hauer film, adding she had to go back to Clifford's office for the final part of the audition.

When she returned she said Clifford "exposed his penis" and she described how he was "wearing light blue boxer shorts".

Prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC asked if Clifford said anything and she said: "No, it was an awkward moment. I was shocked. He stood there, looking embarrassed then put it away."

She said Clifford then told her to return to the department store where the director would call again which she said left her "uncomfortable and confused".

This time she said the caller told her to "find Max Clifford's weaknesses" and she returned to his office where he exposed himself again. She said: "He seemed agitated and zipped himself back up again."

The woman told the court he then led her to a toilet in the office where he put his hand on hers and made her perform a sex act on him.

When asked how she felt afterwards she replied: "Pretty disgusting at that point and confused."

When asked if she was ever offered any work she replied: "There were no auditions, no details of definite jobs. I felt great the first time I went to see him (Clifford) then felt I wasn't going to get any help."

The woman said she did not tell anyone "for obvious reasons, it's humiliating" but eventually told police last year after her mother died and she had seen Clifford on TV denying the allegations against him.

Under cross examination from Clifford's barrister, Richard Horwell QC, she said she had not screamed despite the fact a secretary was close by as she was led to the toilet.

During a subsequent police interview in February 2013, Clifford described the allegations against him as "utterly absurd and untrue".

He added they were "very sad" and insisted repeatedly he was not a paedophile.

Police also asked Clifford about an incident where a complainant had seen him having oral sex in his office. He told them it was "possible his secretary did give me oral sex in 1975".

The court also heard how Clifford told police during his interview he had had "sex in his office with someone that worked for me".

He told detectives there "was no lock" on his office door and if a complainant was being assaulted, she could have "walked out or shouted out".

Clifford told police that in his book he had "written about sex orgies" but he was "not a shrinking violet".

He said: "I have always faced things full on, if I have done anything to be ashamed of I would tell you."

The trial continues on Wednesday and the prosecution is expected to finish its case, with Clifford's defence beginning shortly afterwards.

Clifford, from Hersham, Surrey, denies eleven counts of indecent assault between 1966 and 1984 on seven girls and women.

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