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Clifford casts 'killer bimbo' in a starring role

MAX CLIFFORD, public relations supremo, proved once again yesterday that he has found a recession-proof industry.

Sterling may wobble and redundancies mount, but Mr Clifford appears to have cornered this year's trade in the utterings of jilted actresses.

Yesterday he arranged a press conference with Simone Hyams, the former Grange Hill actress who was dropped by Michael Winner, director of the Death Wish films. Her story was sold to the News of the World which disclosed that the couple 'frolicked in his Jacuzzi and swam in his pool to the sound of Frank Sinatra records'.

It was Mr Clifford who represented Antonia de Sancha in the wake of revelations of her affair with David Mellor, then Secretary of State for National Heritage. It is believed that, in the battle for good coverage with Tim Bell, Mr Mellor's publicity consultant, Mr Clifford came out on top.

At the press conference with Ms Hyams at a tennis club in New Malden, Surrey, an appeal for the public sympathy which set Ms de Sancha in such good stead was high on the agenda.

But it is something she is unlikely to get from Mr Winner who last night described her as a 'killer bimbo' and accused her of despicable behaviour. He said Miss Hyams's claim that they had talked about marriage was 'absolute nonsense and palpably a joke'.

Ms Hyams, whose 21st birthday it co-incidentally was, said the way the 56-year-old Mr Winner had ended the relationship was 'very cruel'. She said 'He made out it was brief but I don't call seven months brief. He talked about the future and he mentioned marriage as a possibility.'

Why had she gone public? 'I thought it was the only way I could get over him, by getting it out of my system,' she replied.

Mr Clifford's clients have included Freddie Starr - eater of a hamster, according to one Sun headline - Pamella Bordes and Derek Hatton.

Miss Hyams appears in Mr Winner's latest film, Dirty Weekend. 'She is only in the film for 12 seconds in a non-speaking part,' Mr Winner said.