Radio Sandwell News

Max Clifford jailed for eight years for sex assaults

2014-05-02 19:27:51

Max Clifford
The Met Police's Det Ch Insp Michael Orchard said there had been a rise in the number of reports of sexual abuse as a result of high profile cases

Disgraced celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been jailed for a total of eight years for a string of indecent assaults against girls and young women.

On Monday the 71-year-old became the first person to be convicted under Operation Yewtree.

Sentencing the PR man, Judge Anthony Leonard said he had groomed and degraded his victims.

Mr Leonard ruled that Clifford should serve his eight sentences of between six and 24 months consecutively.

He said that Clifford should serve at least half his total sentence in jail.

The judge said some of the offences would be charged as rape if they had happened today.

Max Clifford
Clifford posed for the cameras before he was sentenced and throughout his trial

After hearing his sentence, Clifford turned off his phone, took off his hearing loop, turned to friends in the seats behind him and smiled, before being led to the cells.

Earlier, the court had heard how Clifford's abuse changed the course of the four women's lives.

In statements read out by the prosecution, one victim - who was 15 at the time - revealed how she had missed out on having her first sexual relationship with someone her own age because of what Clifford did.

Another said she would cry whenever she saw him on TV following the assault and feared police would laugh at her when she finally came forward.

Prosecuting barrister Rosina Cottage QC said one of the women felt she had "lost the last 20 years" of her life.

'Nobody is immune'

Speaking after the sentencing, the Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said Clifford "thought he was able to abuse his position of power".

"People think they can be immune somehow because of the positions they are in. And there is a very clear message here. Nobody is immune, nobody is above the law and it doesn't matter when things happened, we will prosecute when we have the evidence to do so."

Children's charity the NSPCC tweeted: "Max Clifford thought no-one would believe his victims. He was wrong. This sentence proves victims of non-recent abuse can get justice."

Director Peter Watt added: "It's clear the judge has recognised the pain and suffering Clifford caused and the additional distress he put his victims through by forcing them to relive their ordeal in court."

Adam Pemberton, assistant chief executive at Victim Support, said: "This prison term reflects the impact the crimes Max Clifford committed has on his victims and the courage they showed in finding the strength to give evidence against him.

"We should not forget it was the compelling testimony of the women Clifford abused many years ago which convicted him even as he tried to claim they were liars and fantasists.

Max Clifford
The judge said Clifford would serve at least half his sentence in jail

Charity work

In comments before he handed down the sentence, Mr Leonard said that Clifford led a double life and referred to his charity work and care for his disabled daughter.

But he concluded: "Whilst at the trial you were able to rely on your good character, on the jury's verdicts you lost your good character in 1977 when you were aged 34."

Mr Leonard said he was sure that, in addition to the charges on which he was convicted, Clifford had assaulted a 12-year-old girl in Spain.

    • 15-year-old girl assaulted four times in 1977 or 78

 

    • 19-year-old woman assaulted in 1981 or 82

 

    • A 17-year-old assaulted twice between 1982 and 84

 

  • 18-year-old woman assaulted in 1983 or 84

While the details of how he was alleged to have abused the girl in a whirlpool bath were revealed during the trial, he could not be prosecuted over the incident because it took place before offences that happened abroad could be pursued in the British courts.

The woman was in court to see the sentence handed down and cried when the judge raised her case.

Max Clifford
OJ Simpson was one of Clifford's most controversial clients

Clifford was a key player in the British media in the 1990s and 2000s, orchestrating tabloid revelations about the sex lives of politicians, including David Mellor and John Prescott, sporting figures such as David Beckham and Sven-Goran Eriksson, and actors including Jude Law.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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