Sunday 21 January 2018

"Not the best day" - Shamed Max Clifford facing jail as he awaits sentencing for indecent assaults

*Clifford remains defiant and stands by original story
*Judge listens to arguments from prosecution and defense
*Adjournment of sentencing until 2pm today

Margaret Davis

Celebrity publicist Max Clifford, of Hersham, Surrey was defiant outside court as he arrived to be sentenced for indecent assaults on young women.

The 71-year-old former PR supremo to the stars stands by everything he has said since his arrest, he told reporters at London's Southwark Crown Court.

During his eight-week trial he branded his victims "fantasists" and "opportunists".

He will be sentenced for eight historic counts of indecent assault, having been found guilty on Monday.

Speaking before entering the court, where he faces a likely jail term, he said: "I stand by everything I have said in the last 17 months."

Wearing a blue jacket over a white shirt and jeans, Clifford said: "I just have to make the best of it, that's what I've got to do."

He went on: "I've got nothing to add to what I've said in the past."

He paused for a mass of photographers and TV crews to get pictures and footage, in what could be the last images of Clifford as a free man.

Asked how he was feeling ahead of the sentencing, Mr Clifford added that it was "not the best day of my life".

He continued: "I just have to make the best of what the court gives me.

"It is the same as I have felt since it started 17 months ago, it is like living under a dark cloud.

"It is the same for my family...for my daughter and everyone close to me."

Asked whether he would appeal against his conviction he said: "Everything like that will be handled by my lawyers."

As proceedings began, prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC confirmed that no re-trial will be sought over one count on which the jury were unable to reach a verdict. Clifford was also cleared of another two counts of indecent assault.

Another victim aspired to work as a stunt woman but gave up on her dream career after what Clifford did to her, Ms Cottage said.

The woman was abused in the early 1980s and later appeared as an extra in the Roger Moore James Bond film Octopussy.

"She aspired to be a stunt double in films but could not follow her dream after what happened to her," Ms Cottage told the court.

Another of Clifford's victims was later offered good roles in the film industry but turned them down because "she was afraid of what she would be exposed to" following her treatment at his hands, Ms Cottage said.

Ahead of sentencing, Clifford's defence said "contesting trial" is not an aggravating feature and should not be considered in sentencing.

They say he has raised millions for charity and comforted those who were suffering and in grief.

Meanwhile, the prosecution highlighted Clifford's "protestation of innocence" before, during and after trial.

The judge had adjourned the hearing until 2pm.

Press Association

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