So, we can mount another head on the Wall of Celebrity Sex Crime: the publicist Max Clifford has been jailed for 8 years for “sexually abusing four teenage women and trivialising his trial with a ‘contemptuous attitude’ that added to his victims’ trauma.” During the trial he laughed and shook his head as his victims gave evidence against him. This attitude prompted Judge Anthony Leonard to impose the 8 year sentence, double that which had been expecting.
The judge said Clifford’s conduct had made his victims “extremely upset” and concluded: “I find your behaviour to be quite extraordinary and a further indication that you show no remorse.”
Clifford was told that had some of offences been tried under today’s law, they would be considered as rape or assault by penetration with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
It is ironic that Clifford has been hoisted by his own petard. His work as a publicist had engineered the downfall of a number of celebrities and public figures through stories he sold to tabloid newspapers. Now he has fallen: he is 71, and will serve at least 4 years in prison. He might even die in prison. If he survives, maybe he’ll sell his own story to the papers, or publish his memoirs. His is the last story he will ever sell. His career, and his cushy lifestyle, have gone. I expect a good chunk of his fortune will go as compensation to his victims, and of course the lawyers will want to wet their beaks.
So, that’s another one down. I wonder who the next celebrity will be who learns that his star status will no longer protect him from his deviant past?