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Clifford 'bullied' women into having sex

PR guru Max Clifford thought he was "untouchable" and used his celebrity connections to "bully and manipulate" girls and women into sex acts over a 20-year period, a court heard.

Opening the prosecution case at his trial in Southwark Crown Court in London today, Rosina Cottage QC told jurors the 70-year-old "knows how to manipulate, lie and get what he wants".

Clifford is accused of 11 counts of indecent assault relating to seven alleged victims between 1966 and 1984, which he denies.

Ms Cottage told the jury: "This case concerns sexual assaults upon children and young people over a 20-year period. The defendant used his contact with famous people to bully and manipulate these young people into sexual acts with him.

"In his actions, we say he breached the trust of parents he had encouraged to trust him and young women working for him or seeking jobs in the world in which he worked."

Clifford listened to proceedings from the glass-walled dock using a hearing loop.

The prosecutor added: "Many of you, but not all of you, will have heard of the name Max Clifford. He is wealthy, he is well connected. He is the maker of the kiss-and-tell celebrity and the breaker of reputations.

"He has been at the top of the media game for many years. He knows the strings to pull. He knows how to manipulate, lie and get what he wants.


"He is a man who likes to play games with people, and you will hear evidence of the games that he played with these girls and young women.

"As the years went by, he got away with his behaviour, he must have thought he was untouchable."

But Ms Cottage told the court that after the Jimmy Savile scandal hit the headlines in 2012, Clifford's alleged victims began to come forward.

She said the case, which is due to last around six weeks, will hear not only from women to whom the charges relate, but other women who would give evidence of the PR guru's "sexually predatory behaviour".

The prosecutor added: "His office was his own sexual fiefdom. He toyed with their inexperience and treated them with contempt. And we say he continues to do so by denying their allegations."

The trial continues.