26 Apr 2013

Max Clifford charged with indecently assaulting girls

PR guru Max Clifford is charged with 11 counts of indecently assaulting teenage girls, two of them under age, over a 20-year period.

Alison Saunders, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “We have carefully considered the evidence gathered as part of Operation Yewtree in relation to Max Clifford, who was initially arrested on 6 December 2012 over allegations of sexual offences.

“Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Clifford to be charged with 11 offences of indecent assault relating to seven complainants.”

Max Clifford is accused of indecently assaulting a girl of 14 in 1966; a woman of 18 in 1974-75; a girl of 15 in 1977-78; a woman of 19 in 1978; a girl aged 16 or 17 in 1981-82; a woman of 19 in 1980-81; and a woman of 18 in 1984-85.

The 70-year-old from Surrey, who regularly appears on television news programmes and has represented dozens of celebrities over the years, is due at Westminster magistrates’ court on 28 May. He denied the allegations and said he was “living a 24/7 nightmare”.

Mr Clifford was arrested by officers from Operation Yewtree – the investigation into allegations of sexual offences surrounding Jimmy Savile and others – at the end of last year and subsequently released on bail pending further inquiries.

The CPS found that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges in relation to three other allegations.

‘Completely false’

Mr Clifford said: “The allegations in respect of which I have been charged are completely false and I have made this clear to the police during many, many hours of interviews.

“I have never indecently assaulted anyone in my life and this will become clear during the course of the proceedings. I am naturally disappointed about today’s decision, particularly because of the distress it has caused my wife, Jo, my daughter, Louise, and all those close to me.

“However, at least I will now be in a position to fully consider all the evidence against me and to answer the evidence in public and ultimately clear my name in a court of law.

“Since last December I have been living a 24/7 nightmare. A black cloud has been placed over me, obliterating the bright blue skies that I have been fortunate to live my life under for the vast majority of the past 70 years.

“Fortunately I have and continue to receive wonderful support and understanding from those who knew me, those who know me, as well as people I meet everywhere I go.

“This has made this nightmare so much easier to cope with and I am extremely grateful for this as you can imagine.”

The charges come as part of a broad investigation into child sex abuse spurred by the scandal involving the late BBC personality Jimmy Savile. They are not connected to Savile in person.

Former BBC chauffeur David Smith, 55, is the only other person so far to be charged as a result of Operation Yewtree. About a dozen people have been arrested as part of the Yewtree probe, including veteran entertainer Rolf Harris and former pop star Gary Glitter.

Indecent assault is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.