Clifford affairs seemed 'natural'

Braintree and Witham Times: Publicist Max Clifford is giving evidence in his defence. Publicist Max Clifford is giving evidence in his defence.

Celebrity agent Max Clifford had a string of affairs and went to steamy parties but never forced women or girls into sex, a jury has heard.

The 70-year-old, who is accused of 11 counts of indecent assault on seven alleged victims, laid bare details of his love life as he gave evidence in his defence at Southwark Crown Court today.

Sitting in the witness box, the PR guru told the jury he had sex in his New Bond Street office but only with a woman he was having an affair with.

Earlier the court heard that he had told police there had been "slap and tickle, kissing and cuddling" at his HQ.

Clifford, from Hersham in Surrey, said he had a relationship with an employee and because so many other people in his industry were also having affairs it seemed "natural".

He told the court: "As and when and if something happened in the office it would have been very very occasional, spontaneous, after work with the doors locked. We went to hotels and motels, we went abroad...it was a relationship.

"Did I ever have sex in my office? Yes, but with someone I was having an affair with."

He said he knew the relationship was "morally wrong" but he did not think he would be found out.

"I knew what I was doing was morally wrong. I didn't ever think I would be found out. Right from the start my work was helping everyone else from people finding out about their private lives. Just about everybody I knew in the business was having affairs so it seemed pretty natural.

"In hindsight of course looking back it was the wrong thing to do. If I hadn't been married I would have married her."

Clifford said he had affairs with four women, including a French model and a television dancer.

He told the court that if a woman had offered sex to him in the 1970s and 1980s she had "probably offered the same to everybody else".

"One, I didn't need it," he said. "Secondly, it's not attractive. I had personal pride.

"Also so many music acts, pop stars had sexually transmitted diseases around that time.

"I didn't kid myself that the reason was that I was irresistible."

Clifford said he had remained friends with most of the women he had relationships with and did not pretend he was not married.

"I always said 'I love my wife'," he said.

The court heard that Clifford had written about going to sex parties in a book, but he denied they were "orgies".

"There would have been parties from my younger days when I was friends with Diana Dors because Diana had parties," he said.

"There were not orgies. Not everyone went there and took their clothes off."

However his work as a PR expert meant he had "covered up" sex orgies over the years for other people which had taken place in the West End or in private homes.

Asked by Richard Horwell QC, defending: "Have you ever had any sexual contact with a woman without consent?", Clifford replied "No."

He went on: "It would never have been of interest to me. I get more pleasure from a woman getting pleasure from sex than from me getting pleasure from sex."

Later, the barrister asked him: "Have you ever had a sexual interest in children?"

Clifford said: "No, no. It is utterly revolting, utterly, utterly disgusting lies."

He admitted using fake identities to check the honesty of people who may approach him; for example, a woman with a kiss-and-tell story, but denied claims that he had impersonated Hollywood bigwigs including Cubby Broccoli, Charles Bronson and Michael Winner.

"There was only one voice that I ever had and that was a gay voice," Clifford said. "That was the only one could do. I suppose because I've spent a lot of time around gays."

Some of his alleged victims have claimed that he bragged about having a small penis.

Clifford said: " I can't honestly see how that's meant to impress anybody. How that's meant to endear or attract someone to you. I never used it, I never needed to. What does it achieve?"

Earlier Mr Horwell said that a doctor had measured Clifford's penis at five and a quarter inches long when flaccid.

The jury has heard claims that Clifford has a "micro-penis", while one woman told the court the publicist's penis was "enormous", but the 70-year-old today insisted it was "average" size.

Clifford said: "The women I've actually had relationships with, no-one ever said to me that I've got a small penis or a large penis.

"Based on everything I've seen in changing rooms, you're with men, I would have thought the same, average."

He branded claims that he had told women they needed to sleep with powerful men to get parts in films as "ridiculous".

Clifford said he had "open access" to Top Of The Pops for 20 years had he wanted to impress women.

He told the court: "If someone was impressed with the Walker Brothers, I wouldn't have shown a picture of the Walker Brothers, I would have introduced them to the Walker Brothers.

"The same with the Beatles, the same with the Rolling Stones, the same with everyone else on Top Of The Pops.

"If I really wanted to impress young girls, it would have been easy."

Clifford said the 1960s and 1970s was a time of "sexual revolution" in Britain.

He went on: "There were young girls around pop stars all the time, waiting at recording studios, television studios...trying to get into stars' dressing rooms. That's how it was."

Clifford told the court his PR business would have been "ruined" if he had a reputation for touching women.

He was then asked about the first allegation of indecent assault that he faces, and said he could not recall meeting a woman who claims she met him in a Wimpy Bar in Morden, south London in 1966, when she was 14, and he groped her in his car.

Clifford, who denies all charges, told the court he would not have visited Morden in 1966 as he was working at EMI in central London, he could not drive, did not own a car, and did not like Wimpy. The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

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