Max Clifford made teenager strip, court hears

PR guru Max Clifford told one of his alleged victims that she could be the next Jodie Foster before indecently assaulting her on a number of occasions, a court heard yesterday.
Publicist Max Clifford arrives at court yesterday. Picture: PAPublicist Max Clifford arrives at court yesterday. Picture: PA
Publicist Max Clifford arrives at court yesterday. Picture: PA

The woman, giving evidence behind a curtain to protect her identity, told Southwark Crown Court that she met Clifford in 1977, when she was 15, while on holiday with her family in Spain.

She claims he impressed her parents and told them he could find her modelling work.

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When she got back to the UK she went to his office near Bond Street, London, the court heard.

She told jurors that Clifford said “you could be the UK version” of American actress Jodie Foster.

“I was blown away by it,” she said. “I said to him ‘But I’m not an actress, I can’t act’. But he said ‘Anybody can act’.”

The woman said that, as the meeting progressed, Clifford asked her to take her shirt off and then her bra, which she was reluctant to do.

She recalled: “I was really uncomfortable and felt really nervous and really vulnerable, but I felt stupid because he kept talking and talking and saying ‘You’re being so childish’.”

After believing she “couldn’t get out of this situation”, she did take her bra off, the court heard.

When asked what happened next, she said: “He made a derogatory comment.

“He said that, although I was nice, that I wouldn’t be able to do topless modelling, which I was really shocked by.

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“I was shocked, the fact he said something horrible to me about my figure, because I had been so brave to take my bra off and I was shocked he was talking about topless modelling because we had just been talking about me being the UK’s Jodie Foster.

“I was really confused. I didn’t know what was going on.”

The court has previously heard that the defendant went on to abuse her several times after this meeting.

The woman also described phone calls she received from a man she believed was called Terry Miller, who told her to contact Clifford.

The prosecution claim this was a bogus call made by either Clifford himself or someone operating on his behalf.

The witness said Mr Miller advised her to say “dirty words” to Clifford, and ordered her to repeat them to him on the phone.

In court Clifford listened through a hearing loop from the dock.

The 70-year-old, of Hersham in Surrey, is accused of 11 counts of indecent assault against seven women and girls. He denies all the charges.

The woman told the court that Clifford took her to venues, including the Playboy Club in Park Lane, to “meet people” to further her career.

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When asked in court: “Did you ever meet anybody that you spoke to assist with a career?”

She replied: “No.”

The woman said the publicist told her that he had to trust her, adding: “He had to really get to know me, had to really trust me 100 per cent, he had to know me so well that whatever he asked me to do I would do it and he would know I would do it, like he had to get inside my head.

“He had to know me that well. That was always the precursor to the abuse.”

The case continues.