Clifford slams 'fantasist' accusers

Times Series: Max Clifford has branded his accusers 'fantasists and opportunists'. Max Clifford has branded his accusers 'fantasists and opportunists'.

PR guru Max Clifford has branded the women he allegedly assaulted as "fantasists and opportunists" who may be trying to get compensation.

The 70-year-old, who is accused of 11 counts of indecent assault against seven girls and women, told London's Southwark Crown Court that the women who claim he indecently assaulted them are telling a "pack of lies".

Clifford made the claims as he was cross-examined by prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC on his third day in the witness box.

In an occasionally heated exchange, the veteran celebrity agent was asked to explain why a group of women from different areas, and of different ages and backgrounds, would have made claims about him allegedly assaulting them, sometimes in apparently similar ways.

Ms Cottage asked: "Why would somebody want to lie about what you did with your penis? Do you know any reason why these women would have lied to their family and friends all of these years ago?"

Clifford replied: "I don't know, because I don't know them. I know that what they are saying is untrue. I can only think it's because of an opportunity for compensation, an opportunity to make something out of this in the current climate."

He added: "Possibly they are just fantasists, possibly because they don't like me, they see an opportunity - they would be the reasons.

"I know that what they are saying is totally untrue. It's pure speculation for me or anyone else as to why they are doing it. I know it's not true."

Ms Cottage said two alleged victims had separately made similar allegations about being indecently assaulted by Clifford while on holiday in Spain, while two others had given similar accounts of him making them masturbate him in a toilet.

Asked by the prosecutor whether he knew anything that may have linked the women, Clifford replied: "I am not aware of anything that links them together apart from them telling a pack of lies."

He said the women "all saw opportunities and they have all taken them".

The media magnate said the allegations had been "very, very damaging" to him and his family, but said he had not needed to go back and double-check his diaries to find out where he was at the time of the alleged assaults because he knew they were untrue.

"I knew that these allegations were totally untrue, so there was no need for me to check diaries because I knew it was rubbish and nonsense," he said. He also dismissed suggestions that he may have destroyed some of his diaries.

Clifford claimed allegations which surfaced after his first arrest in December 2012 came after other women "saw it in the papers", but branded the claims "lies made up by fantasists and opportunists".

Of one of the victims who has given evidence, he said: "As far as I am concerned, a liar is a liar is a liar, so she sits there and tells a pack of lies and then we move on to the next one."

Clifford was questioned about phone calls he made using different names, denying it was "a game", and said he used the method to find out if women were trustworthy or not.

"I was working, mixing with stars, famous people, successful people, that gave opportunities if they (other people) wanted to take advantage. So I wanted to check people out," he said.

He said he would tell the person something "confidential", making them promise not to reveal it, then call them posing as a different character and see if they revealed the secret.

Clifford said the calls may have involved sex, but only insofar as the information he fed to the women might have been about an alleged affair or scandal, and denied a claim that he got a 15-year-old to say "cock, cock, cock" down the phone to him.

Clifford said the only voice he put on was that of a character he called Terry Denton, which he told jurors was a "gay voice".

He admitted having sex in his office, but said it was "an occasional spontaneous thing, normally after work and the door would be shut".

He told the court he had had several affairs while married to his first wife, which his daughter Louise knew about.

The court heard he told Louise when she was a teenager, but would have reassured her that he still loved her mother and was just "greedy".

"I don't say it makes it all right but that's what was happening," he said.

Clifford said he had a "wonderful relationship" with his daughter based on "love and devotion", which had grown through him looking after her through "years of pain".

"My daughter loves and trusts me and I love and trust her," he said.

But he denied suggestions that he demanded "unquestioning loyalty" from those close to him, and had asked his daughter to lie to his wife about his affairs.

"She was a very responsible young lady, but she she did not have to lie for me. If Louise had decided she wanted to tell my wife then she would have done.

"Her loyalty was with both of us, she was totally devoted to her mum as well.

"I have never asked her to lie for me, never have I asked my daughter to lie for me or expected her to lie for me, and she wouldn't. If she wanted to tell her mother, she would have told her mother, that was her decision."

The PR guru was quizzed on "legendary sex parties", referred to in his book, which he organised.

Asked by Ms Cottage if they were "good honest filth" - another description in the book - he said: "They were".

He also described how he went to '60s siren Diana Dors' sex parties when he was a teenager, and told the court: "I thoroughly enjoyed them!", but he said he did not think he had sex at the parties, just "an awful lot of laughs".

The prosecutor asked how Clifford found the girls for the parties he organised, to which he replied: "They found me. They would ring up and they would say 'Can I come, can I bring my sister, can I bring my mother, can I bring my aunt?'"

The PR guru, referred to in his book as a "ringmaster", said nobody had done anything they did not want to do at the parties, adding that he "didn't have to groom people".

"No-one was doing anything to anyone that they didn't want to do," he said.

"Everyone was old enough to know what they were doing."

He said occasionally there would be a TV, film or record producer a t the parties - not because of their role, but because they were a "mate" of his.

The court also heard that Clifford had earned extra money when he was a teenager working as a reporter on a local paper, by putting on "blue movie nights" above a local pub with films he said he got from the police.

As he was taken through the accusations against him, Clifford said it was "possible" he had been in a Wimpy Bar in Morden, south west London - where one alleged victim claims she met him before going in his car where he assaulted her - but said he was not a regular, and "didn't like Wimpys".

He said he did not even have a car at the time, and could not drive.

Ms Cottage said Clifford lured the girl into his car so he could get his "leg over" - a claim he dismissed as "absolute rubbish and total lies".

He denied telling the girl "This is what you have go to do", but Ms Cottage said: "You have repeated that for 20 years in one way or another with woman after woman after woman. 'This is what you've got to do, if you want this, this is what you've got to do', yes?"

Clifford replied: "No".

The prosecutor asked: "Did you get a kick out of it?".

He replied: "It didn't happen, so how could I?", adding that the claim was " a fairy story that only you believe".

Addressing another allegation that he assaulted a girl in his office, Clifford again denied the claim, saying the girl had never worked in his office and he did not know her.

Asked why someone would make up such a claim, he said: "Because of who I am and where I am", adding that, over the years, women and men had approached him with stories that they had fabricated in order to make money.

He told the court: "When the Savile scandal broke we had dozens of women phoning us with stories about Savile, some of whom were obviously lying, and all of whom wanted money.

"It happens, it happens an awful lot."

Clifford was asked about an anonymous letter sent to him by one of his alleged victims, in which she confronted him about his alleged attack decades after it was said to have happened.

The court has heard that the note was found in Clifford's bedside table, and a copy was also found at a house he owns in the Cotswolds.

The PR guru said he had taken the note home to show to his wife and daughter, and said he did not know that his wife had made a copy and left it at their Cotswolds home.

Asked how he felt about the letter, he said: "It wasn't so distressing to me because I know it wasn't true."

He said he had had a lot of "funny" letters over the year - explaining that by funny he meant horrible - including death threats.

"I wasn't frightened, I thought it was very sad that this person was obviously mentally disturbed.

"It was totally and utterly untrue - very sad, but untrue. It was very horrible and upsetting."

Ms Cottage asked him: "This was the first of all your skeletons to start rattling?"

Clifford replied: "As there are no skeletons, no."

Clifford denies all charges against him.

The trial was adjourned until Monday morning.

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