Max Clifford guilty: King of spin found guilty of eight charges of indecent assault on girls as young as 15 over 20-year period

The publicist becomes the first person to be convicted under Operation Yewtree

The keeper of a thousand celebrity sex secrets, Max Clifford faces jail after being undone by his own private life, found guilty on Monday of manipulating and abusing teenage girls as young as 15 years old over a 20-year period.

The publicist becomes the first person to be convicted under Operation Yewtree – the Metropolitan Police’s £3m investigation into historical sex abuse set up after Jimmy Savile’s posthumous exposure as a predatory paedophile.

In a packed but hushed courtroom, the jury of six men and four women convicted Clifford of eight charges of indecent assault, having deliberated the case for almost 40 hours across eight days. He was cleared of two more charges, and the jury failed to reach a verdict on another, but this was the downfall of a publicist who spent half a century protecting the rich and famous.

The PR guru breathed deeply as he listened to the verdicts through a hearing loop while sitting in the dock at Southwark Crown Court but said nothing to betray his emotions. His daughter Louise, watching behind her father, had remained expressionless as the verdicts were read while Clifford’s office manager buried her head in her hands.

Read more: He forged a career by covering up dirty secrets – but in the end, he couldn’t escape his own

Judge Anthony Leonard QC warned the 71-year-old that granting him bail was no indication of the severity or otherwise of his impending sentence, which could be given as early as Friday.

Clifford walked out of court in silence, refusing to comment on the advice of his lawyer before being bundled into a car.

Max Clifford with his daughter Louise outside court (Getty) Max Clifford with his daughter Louise outside court (Getty)

Liz Dux, a lawyer representing more than 150 people who have made complaints under Operation Yewtree, said: “This verdict proves Yewtree was not a celebrity witch-hunt. Some predatory people used their fame, money and celebrity to groom and then abuse the vulnerable. I hope this verdict sends a firm message – no longer will abusers like Clifford be shrouded in silence. Victims now have a voice and Britain will never return to the dark days of the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties.”

Clifford had remained defiant during his trial, dismissing the seven women who said they were assaulted by him between 1966 and 1984 as “fantasists and opportunists” telling “a pack of lies” in an attempt to cash in on the post-Savile climate. His defence team had also criticised the Met for failing in “elementary police work” – yet it was Clifford the jury failed to believe.

One victim was abused several times after Clifford met her family in the Spanish town of Torremolinos in 1977 when she was 15.

She told the court he had impressed her parents with tales of how he could transform her into a star – and how he later abused her in his car. The woman said she considered suicide when Clifford falsely told her he had a photograph of her giving him oral sex, and in 2011 sent him a letter claiming he had made her life “a living hell”. The letter was found in Clifford’s bedside table when his home was searched by police.

In another alleged assault, not on the charge sheet because it was claimed to have occurred abroad, Clifford is said to have forced a 12-year-old girl to masturbate him in a whirlpool bath while on holiday in Spain after befriending her parents.

He impersonated Hollywood executives such as Steven Spielberg or James Bond producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli.

One his victims, a dancer, said she had received a phone call from someone claiming to represent Broccoli telling her to find out if Clifford was circumcised. The publicist assaulted her in a nightclub toilet, forcing her to touch his penis before she fled.

Another victim, a former teenage model, said Clifford groped her when she went to his New Bond Street office for career advice in 1983, bragging that he could get her a part in a Bond movie. He then masturbated while he was on the phone to his wife, and tried to put his penis in her mouth.

Key evidence: the defendant’s member

Just as OJ Simpson’s murder trial is remembered for the size of his hand, which he struggled to fit into a black glove used as evidence, Clifford’s trial will be remembered for the size of a more intimate part of his body.

The issue of Clifford’s penis, variously described in court as “micro” and “enormous”,  caused much hilarity. One woman, now 48, told the court how, when she was an aspiring 17-year-old model, Clifford locked her in his office and tried to make her perform oral sex on him. The court had heard claims that Clifford’s penis is no more than two-and-a-half inches when erect. This woman disagreed, saying his penis was very large. But she added: “I have a small mouth. I do, my dentist has always said.”

Dr Ann Coxon stated she had measured Clifford’s penis when flaccid and found it to be just over 5in. The defence claimed the differing lengths recalled by the women suggested they had not seen the publicist’s penis. But as the prosecution said, “The length of a penis, to coin a phrase, is in the eye of the beholder”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US