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Max Clifford 'used his power' to 'humiliate' girl into sex act, court told

Published 27/06/2016

Max Clifford denies indecently assaulting a 17-year-old girl in the 1980s
Max Clifford denies indecently assaulting a 17-year-old girl in the 1980s

Former celebrity publicist Max Clifford "used his position of power" to "humiliate" a teenage girl into performing a sex act on him, a court was told.

The 73-year-old is accused of assaulting the 17-year-old at his Mayfair offices in New Bond Street between October 1981 and May 1982.

He allegedly locked the girl in his office and forced her to engage in a sexual act with him, a jury at Southwark Crown Court in London was told.

When there was a knock on the door he apparently put his finger to his lips to try to keep her quiet, it is claimed.

Prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC said he "used his position of power" to "embarrass" and "humiliate" the young victim.

"The defendant is a sexual bully who took advantage of his position of power over the youth of the victim to engage in sexual activity she made it plain she did not want to do," she added.

"The defendant ignored her wishes and persisted in his actions, knowing she did not consent."

He apparently left "explicit" Polaroid photographs of women on his desk for the teenager to see.

"Many displayed a man's hand which she believed was the defendant," Ms Cottage added.

"Clearly they were there for her to see."

Clifford also made "personal remarks" about the victim's appearance and how short her skirt was, the court was told.

Clifford, formerly of Hersham, Surrey, is charged under Operation Yewtree, the Met Police investigation set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Some of the biggest names in show business, including pop mogul Simon Cowell, late reality TV star Jade Goody and boxer Muhammad Ali, were represented by Clifford during his career, which spanned more than 40 years.

Clifford appeared in the dock wearing a blue suit, white shirt, blue and red spotted tie and glasses, with a beard, and followed proceedings through a hearing loop.

He denies indecent assault.

The trial continues.

Clifford allegedly exposed himself to the teenager, "waved" his genitalia in her face and said: "It's only a bit of fun."

Ms Cottage said he "went to the door of the office and locked it. They were the only two in the office".

"He stood between her and the door and unzipped his trousers," she added.

Clifford then forced the girl to put her hand on him and perform a sex act, the court was told.

Ms Cottage continued: "She began to panic but didn't know what to do. She was terrified and had no idea what to do. She kept saying she didn't want to do it and didn't want to miss her train."

She added: "She felt she had no choice but to comply."

When there was a knock at the door, Clifford "motioned with his lips to be quiet", the jury heard.

He stormed off after the teenager called out "just a minute", Ms Cottage said.

Clifford denies that the incident took place and claimed the allegation was "made up so that she could try and claim compensation".

The trial will continue at 10am on Tuesday.

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