Sunday 18 February 2018

'He makes me ill. He took advantage of a child'

Publicist Max Clifford speaks as he leaves Southwark Crown Court with his daughter Louise (3rd L) in central London. Reuters
Publicist Max Clifford speaks as he leaves Southwark Crown Court with his daughter Louise (3rd L) in central London. Reuters
Max Clifford waves as he leaves Southwark Crown Court with his daughter Louise in central London. Reuters

David Barrett and Margaret Davis London

One of Max Clifford's victims has spoken of how she was "sickened" by the PR guru's public statements about other celebrities who were found guilty of sex crimes.

In the years after the Jimmy Savile scandal, silver-haired Clifford, master of the tabloid "kiss and tell", appeared on television screens to comment on stories about a succession of celebrities accused of wrongdoing.

As he condemned the guilty, his own victims were angered by his hypocrisy.

"I'm so relieved and so pleased that justice has been done," said the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

"When I think of him he makes me shudder and makes me feel ill. He is somebody who has been able to shield himself behind a cloak of respectability, and fooled everybody.

"To see him become very high-profile and speak openly about other paedophiles and damn them, to create a persona of a respectable, high-profile man who was lauded by the media was sickening to say the least.

"He saw a vulnerable person and took advantage of someone who was a child. It had huge implications for me as a young person."

The veteran celebrity agent has enjoyed a career behind the headlines for decades, bringing both much-desired and less-welcome publicity into the lives of household names.

As a PR expert, Clifford represented celebrities including pop mogul Simon Cowell, reality TV star Jade Goody and boxer Muhammad Ali.

He also brokered deals with the tabloids for kiss-and-tell stories such as Antonia de Sancha's affair with David Mellor, Tracy Temple's fling with John Prescott and actor Jude Law's tryst with nanny Daisy Wright.

The youngest of four children, Clifford, who left school at 15 with no qualifications, trained as a journalist after he was sacked from his first job as a shop assistant in a department store.

He went on to work for EMI in 1962, where he was tasked with promoting acts including the Beatles, before branching out on his own and setting up Max Clifford Associates in 1970.

Clifford's extensive contacts in Fleet Street – he described himself as "often poacher and gamekeeper at the same time" – meant he was increasingly turned to as a commentator on matters involving the media.

When aged celebrities began being arrested on suspicion of sex crimes 18 months ago, Clifford took to the radio claiming that former household names were "frightened to death" of falling under suspicion.

Operation Yewtree was launched in October 2012 by Scotland Yard after Jimmy Savile was finally exposed as a prolific paedophile in an ITV documentary. Days after the inquiry started, Clifford appeared on LBC and said in the 1960s and 1970s some stars "never asked for anybody's birth certificate".

Press Association

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News