Max Clifford sentencing: shamed PR guru remains defiant as he arrives at court

Clifford could face jail when he is sentenced today for a string of indecent assaults

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The Independent Online

Max Clifford has remained defiant ahead of his sentencing hearing today where he could face jail for a string of indecent assaults.

Speaking outside of court ahead this morning, where he posed for photographers and TV crews, he said he “stands by” everything he has said over the last 17 months.

The Shamed PR expert has been detained in custody until his sentencing hearing at 2pm.

The 71-year-old was found guilty on Monday by a jury at Southwark Crown Court, becoming the first person to be convicted under sex crime investigation Operation Yewtree. He was cleared of two further charges and the jury failed to reach a verdict on a third.

During his eight-week trial he branded his victims "fantasists" and "opportunists".

Asked how he was feeling ahead of the sentencing, Mr Clifford said it was "not the best day of my life".

He continued: "I just have to make the best of what the court gives me.

"It is the same as I have felt since it started 17 months ago, it is like living under a dark cloud.

"It is the same for my family...for my daughter and everyone close to me."

Asked whether he would appeal against his conviction he said: "Everything like that will be handled by my lawyers."

As proceedings began, prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC confirmed no re-trial will be sought over one count on which the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Clifford was also cleared of another two counts of indecent assault.

The first victim said her education suffered after she was abused by Clifford when he met her family on holiday in Spain.

Ms Cottage told the court: "She felt that it impacted on her relationship with her parents because she felt that she had deceived them."

Clifford's appearances on television and the radio "brought back feelings of intimidation and fear" and she was "extremely upset" when he denied the allegations in front of millions of people "calling them (his accusers) complete liars and saying they were anonymous".

Ms Cottage added: "The experience of being made to go to court was horrifying for her. Her first sexual experience was the abuse perpetrated by the defendant and she missed out on what should have been a loving experience with someone her own age."

Another victim aspired to work as a stuntwoman but gave up on her dream career after she was assaulted by Clifford, Ms Cottage said.

The woman was abused in the early 1980s and later appeared as an extra in the Roger Moore James Bond film Octopussy.

"She aspired to be a stunt double in films but could not follow her dream after what happened to her," Ms Cottage told the court.

Richard Horwell QC, for Clifford, said that his age and physical condition also mean that he is unlikely to reoffend and warned his client should not be sentenced with an eye on the fact that his is the first successful prosecution under Operation Yewtree.

Mr Horwell told the court: "He is not to be made an example of for a number of failed prosecutions.

"He is to be sentenced for these eight counts and no more, and the totality principle must apply.”

He said the latest date on the guilty charge was 1984, meaning he had not reoffended for 29 years since.

The court also heard from a number of women who said Clifford had always behaved appropriately towards them and the children with whom he spent time.

"The public do not require protection from him today," he said.