Max Clifford sentenced to eight years in jail for sex assaults

Clifford is first person to be convicted under historical inquiry into sexual assaults

Max Clifford has been sentenced to eight years in prison Photograph: Andrew Winning/Reuters

Max Clifford has been sentenced to eight years in prison Photograph: Andrew Winning/Reuters

Fri, May 2, 2014, 15:10

Shamed PR expert Max Clifford was jailed for eight years at Southwark Crown Court today after being convicted of eight counts of indecent assault. Judge Anthony Leonard QC has said Clifford will serve at least four of these years in prison.

The 71-year-old was found guilty on Tuesday by a jury at Southwark Crown Court, becoming the first person to be convicted under sex crime investigation Operation Yewtree.

He was convicted of eight counts of the crime against four women between 1977 and 1984.

Since the damning verdicts, a string of Clifford’s former clients have moved to distance themselves from the veteran agent and he said he was “incredibly disappointed” at his conviction.

The jury of six men and four women — down to 10 members after two jurors were separately discharged earlier in the case — cleared him on two other counts, and were unable to reach a verdict on a third.

Clifford had repeatedly denied all the claims, calling his arrest and prosecution “a nightmare” and branding his accusers “fantasists”.

The court heard from a string of other women who testified about Clifford’s behaviour, romping naked in his New Bond Street office.

Prosecutors portrayed him as a well-practised manipulator, who promised to boost his victims’ careers and get them to meet celebrities in exchange for sexual favours.

He offered to get them casting appointments, pretending to be Hollywood bigwigs including Steven Spielberg and Michael Winner on the phone, and bizarrely bragged about having a tiny penis.

Victims included one girl who said Clifford, from Hersham in Surrey, abused her on a number of occasions after he met her family on holiday in Torremolinos in Spain in 1977 when she was 15.

The jury could not reach a verdict on a count involving a woman who claimed Clifford groped her in his car after meeting her at a Wimpy bar in Morden, south London, in 1966.

He was cleared of another two allegations — one woman who said she was pushed up against a wall in his central London offices when he groped her and kissed her in 1975, and another who claimed she was groped in a taxi in 1978.

Clifford was arrested by detectives from Operation Yewtree in December 2012, and charged in April the following year.

PA