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Claims 'a load of lies' - Clifford

PR guru Max Clifford has branded allegations that he carried out a catalogue of indecent assaults on different women "ridiculous" and " a load of lies" as he returned to the witness box for a second day.

The 70-year-old is standing trial accused of 11 counts of indecent assault against seven girls and women, all of which he denies.

Giving evidence at Southwark Crown Court, he denied ever meeting many of the women, and dismissed their claims as completely untrue.

One alleged victim claims she met Clifford on holiday in Torremolinos, Spain, in 1977, and he kept in touch with her family, coming to her house and taking her out in his car after she returned to the UK, where he would persuade her to perform sexual acts on him.

But under questioning from his defence barrister, Richard Horwell QC, Clifford said: "That's totally and utterly untrue.

"It just doesn't make any sense at all.

"If I wanted to have a relationship with someone, there were hotels, there were places where I had already been in relationships.

"And what is the satisfaction in a car when, according to what she says, I didn't even ejaculate.

"Where's the stimulation in that?

"It's just crazy, it's a load of lies."

Asked if he was ever sexually interested in a 15-year-old in 1977 or 1978, he said: "No, it wasn't me.

"There were plenty of people I knew who were into young girls etc etc but it's never been me."

Clifford said he holidayed in Torremolinos in 1977 and had gone with singer Tom Waits, who performed there, but he said he did not recall meeting the girl and her family.

The veteran celebrity agent also denied recognising the name of another of his alleged victims, who claimed that she worked in the same office as him in central London, and that he pushed her up against the wall in a corridor in his office and tried to assault her in 1975.

But he claimed there was no corridor, and told the jury that the diagram she drew of his office bore "no resemblance" to his office in New Bond Street, saying: "The diagram she has drawn could not possibly be my office.

"It never happened.

"What can I say?

"It didn't happen.

"This isn't my office, I don't know the girl and none of these people that she says she worked for in my office I know at all, and they don't know me."

A third woman claimed she had spent around six hours alone with Clifford in his office before he groped her in a taxi to London Bridge, but he again dismissed this as "ridiculous".

"There were people coming in and out of my office all the time, so for it to have been empty for six hours in the middle of the day at a busy working time is absolutely ridiculous," Clifford told the jury.

Another woman, who Clifford has not been charged with assaulting but has been called as a supporting witness for the prosecution, claims she went to his office on the promise of a part in a film.

She has alleged that he exposed his penis to her, saying, "Look at my penis, isn't it tiny?", the court has heard, and she claimed she later received a call from an "Italian producer" - who she believed was Clifford disguising his voice.

Clifford told the court he had never held castings for films in his office and denied ever exposing himself to women in his office, or ever impersonating an Italian producer or director.

Another victim claims she was assaulted by Clifford at his offices after getting a part as an extra in the James Bond film Octopussy.

But Clifford told the court the only involvement he had with someone connected to the film was with gymnast Suzanne Dando, whose profile he was helping to promote, along with several other British athletes such as Daley Thompson, or swimmer Sharron Davies.

He said he would not have been "very clever" if he had bragged to her that he could get the alleged victim a part in a major film, which would have required acting experience and an Equity card.

Clifford said: "If the inference is that I was just lying to impress her, well, I'm not very clever, am I?

"If I wanted to impress a girl I could take her to, for example, Des (O'Connor's) show where the major stars were regularly on ... I could have introduced her to Michael Winner."

Mr Horwell asked Clifford about an event involving Jimmy Savile and a famous bear called Hercules.

He told the court: "To my knowledge I've never met Jimmy Savile in my life."

He said that, when abuse claims against the late DJ emerged, he was contacted by alleged victims who wanted to sell their stories, and told them to go to the police.

"When the news broke... after that we had dozens and dozens of calls from women who wanted to sell stories about Jimmy Savile," Clifford said.

Asked by Mr Horwell what he had told them, he said: "To go to the police."

The court has heard that another women claims Clifford offered to give her the lead role of Fallon in 1980s TV show Dynasty, after the actress who played her had fallen from a horse.

She said the media magnate claimed to know producer Aaron Spelling and at his offices she spoke to someone claiming to be Spelling, before Clifford exposed his "freakishly small" penis to her and persuaded her to masturbate him.

Clifford told the court: " It's just too ridiculous for words.

"I know that they are lying but they are not even clever.

"It's ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous lies.

"Someone just walks in off the street and I offer them a part in a major TV programme... when they have got no acting experience... It's ridiculous."

One woman claimed that Clifford told her he had slept with Diana Ross, also accusing him of masturbating while he was on the phone to his wife, and trying to put his penis in her mouth.

She alleges that he also said she would have to sleep with film producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli.

Asked if he had ever claimed to have slept with Ross, Clifford told the court: "Discretion is a very important part of public relations particularly when you are dealing with stars.

"You know an awful lot of things about these stars and the fact that 10, 20, 30, 40 years later no-one knows means they can trust you."

He added: "Even if it had ever happened which it didn't, I wouldn't have boasted abut it to some young girl who potentially could go out and tell anyone and everyone."

He said if he had become notorious for groping girls "no-one would have come near me with a barge pole", adding: "reputation meant everything".

Asked about the claims of him masturbating while on the phone to his wife, he said that would have been "sick, apart from being naughty".

Clifford added that despite his affairs: "I was always in love with my wife.

"I believe that we had a very very happy marriage for 40 years."

The PR guru was then questioned about claims he had assaulted a 12-year-old girl whilst on holiday in Marbella in 1983, and whether he had any sexual interest in girls of that age - the same age as his daughter Louise - at that time.

"I have said it before, the thought is utterly repulsive and repugnant and one of the worst things I have heard of all the dreadful things I have been accused of.

"A 12-year-old girl - that's disgusting, filthy and absolutely revolting."

The alleged victim is not part of the indictment because the claimed assault is said to have taken place in Spain but has been called as a prosecution witness.

Clifford said that her family would have remembered seeing his disabled daughter on the holiday if the claims that they had spent time together were true.

One woman claimed that in the 1980s, when she was 18, she went to a nightclub for a dance audition where she met several men having a business meeting, including Clifford.

The PR advisor suggested he could help get her a part in Octopussy, she claimed, then took her into a toilet cubicle where he indecently assaulted her, forcing her to masturbate him.

But he told the court that Octopussy had actually come out two-and-a-half years before, and said that although he may have had a business meeting in the venue, everyone else there would have seen him taking her into the toilet.

Another woman who has been called as a supporting prosecution witness, claimed Clifford took her to his girlfriend's flat where he got his penis out and told her "if you touch it, it gets bigger", but he denied this.

He said: "From 1983 to 1988 I was in a deep, meaningful relationship with someone - apart from being married - a dancer. So if I was out of an evening, if I wasn't with my wife I would have been with Vicky."

A second girl claimed she was 16 when he asked her to masturbate him in the toilet at his office. Clifford said it was used by people on several floors, and that "It would have been like having sex in Piccadilly Circus".

He has denied ever impersonating director Michael Winner on the phone, and told the jury today that he did not even like the late Hollywood bigwig.

When asked why he had not attended a dinner with Winner, Clifford said: "I didn't like Michael Winner. I'm sure he didn't like me."

One of his alleged victims wrote him an anonymous letter detailing claims of abuse, that Clifford said he received at his office in 2011.

He said: "I knew it wasn't true but it was a horrible thing to read. I suppose my initial reaction was this was someone out there who has got mental problems.

"There was a reference in the letter to a psychiatrist or something. But I knew it wasn't true and it was a horrible nasty letter."

He showed it to his wife and daughter and then tried to forget about it, the court heard.

He added: " In some ways for me it was more upsetting than death threats that I've received over the years."

Clifford described how he was arrested early on the morning of December 6, 2012, when police woke him up, saying initially he thought it was a "wind-up".

"I was woken up, taken to Belgravia Police Station, at one stage locked in a cell, and then taking my DNA and fingerprints.

"I think I've only ever had a parking fine once, so it was a tremendous shock.

"To be locked in a police cell and the door slammed, and the thing put across, I thought I must have murdered someone."

He said it only later became clear what he was being accused of, but he said he had a clue when he knew it was part of Operation Yewtree, an investigation he said had been set up "to try and cover up the embarrassment that Jimmy Savile had caused the Met Police".

Clifford said he had given the best answers to police that he could, given they related to events "30, 40, nearly 50 years ago", despite being advised not to.

"I knew I had nothing to hide so I did the best I could to remember and answer anything and everything that was put to me, although I was advised that possibly the best thing to do was to say nothing," he told the court.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.


From Belfast Telegraph