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Sir Clement Freud 'should be stripped of knighthood'

Published 15/06/2016

Sir Clement Freud was a celebrated wit.
Sir Clement Freud was a celebrated wit.

A third woman who claims Sir Clement Freud sexually abused her has called for his knighthood to be revoked.

Vicky Hayes, 64, said the late Liberal politician should be stripped of his honour after she went public with allegations he raped her.

She told ITV News that Freud would frequently visit her father's Lincoln seafood restaurant, known as Syd's, in the mid-1960s and that she first met him when she was 14.

A fan of horses, Ms Hayes added that when she was 17, he returned to take her to Newmarket Races - assuring her parents that a housekeeper would also be present, and on the overnight trip plied her with champagne before taking her virginity.

She said: "I lay there naked he got in and I just lay there afraid, scared, and he forced himself on me and took my virginity."

Ms Hayes said she did not tell her parents, because her father would have "killed" Freud.

"You don't expect a friend of your parents to rape you," she continued, adding that his parting message to her was to call him if she was pregnant.

Ms Hayes said: "He should not be held up as a pillar of society, he is what I know him to be. He does not to deserve to keep his knighthood, I think he should be stripped of his knighthood."

She told Suffolk Police about the abuse in 2010.

A spokesman for the force said: "A historic allegation of rape occurring more than 40 years ago was made to Suffolk Police in 2014, against a man who was deceased.

"This was formally recorded but as the suspect was no longer alive, there were no further lines of inquiry."

Ms Hayes is the third woman to come forward with allegations against Freud, with earlier claims prompting his widow to apologise.

Sylvia Woosley, who first met Freud when she was 10 and later went to live with him when her mother's marriage broke down, claims in an ITV Exposure documentary that he molested her over several years.

A second woman, who wants to remain anonymous, alleged that the Liberal politician also abused her as a child and raped her when she was 18.

Freud, who was friends with Gerry and Kate McCann, the parents of missing three-year-old Madeleine, who disappeared in 2007, was married to Jill, 89, for nearly 60 years.

In a statement released in response to the programme, his widow Jill Freud, 89, said: "This is a very sad day for me. I was married to Clement for 58 years and loved him dearly. I am shocked, deeply saddened and profoundly sorry for what has happened to these women. I sincerely hope they will now have some peace."

ITV said two of Freud's children had viewed the documentary before broadcast on their mother's behalf.

In the programme, due to be screened on Wednesday, Ms Woosley, now in her late 70s, said: "I just want to clear things up before I die ... I want to die clean."

She told the programme she first met Freud, known as Clay, when he was 24 and working at the Martinez hotel in Cannes in the late 1940s. She was 10 and her family was living in the south of France.

Ms Woosley claims he kissed her on the mouth during a bus trip. She said: "I was disgusted and helpless. I just didn't react in any way because I couldn't. I didn't know what to do."

From the age of 14, when she lived with Freud and his wife in London for five years, she claims he frequently molested her, even "playfully" touching her breast in front of his wife, although she believes Mrs Freud had no knowledge of the abuse.

The second woman said she first met Freud in 1971 at her family home when she was a "lonely, neglected and socially isolated" 11-year-old.

Then a celebrity, he would call her on the phone and tell her she was special and intelligent, and he was treated as a surrogate father figure by her parents, she said.

In June 1978, when she was 18, the woman alleges that he came over to her parents' flat and "brutally and perfunctorily" raped her.

A celebrated food, sport and general commentary columnist, Freud also enjoyed a long career as a television and radio personality.

He wore "so many hats" that he was hard to pin down, Kate McCann noted in her book on her daughter's disappearance, recalling the time she and her husband were invited to Freud's for lunch in Portugal shortly after Madeleine went missing.

A spokesman for the Liberal Democrats said: "These allegations are horrific. We are desperately sorry to learn that lives have been ruined by a man whose public face was so greatly at odds to his true character. It has clearly taken a lot of courage for these women to speak out, after a lifetime of having to hide it."

:: Exposure: Abused And Betrayed - A Life Sentence will be broadcast on ITV at 11.05pm on Wednesday.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Following the transmission of the documentary, the MPS will make an assessment of the allegations to ensure the safeguarding of anyone at risk, and also consider if any criminal investigation is required to bring any living persons to justice."

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