Knutsford GuardianAccused Clifford begins evidence (From Knutsford Guardian)

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Accused Clifford begins evidence

Knutsford Guardian: Max Clifford denies 11 counts of indecent assault Max Clifford denies 11 counts of indecent assault

PR guru Max Clifford has begun giving evidence in his trial for a string of indecent assaults, going through details of his star-studded client list.

The 70-year-old sat in the witness box at Southwark Crown Court, describing his encounters with household names including Sir Tom Jones, the Beatles and the Bee Gees.

Earlier his barrister Richard Horwell QC had told the court that the trial would not be "turned into a celebrity extravaganza".

He told the jury that conflicting claims of four women about the size of his client's penis were incorrect.

The jury has heard claims that Clifford has a "micro-penis" measuring two and half inches, while one woman told the court the publicist's penis was "enormous".

"None of these four witnesses is correct," he said. "That's because Mr Clifford has an average sized penis. That will be his evidence."

Mr Horwell added that his client had played "a lot of sport in his life" and had entered many sport room showers.

Earlier the court heard Clifford admitted to police having "slap and tickle" in his office but denied ever forcing women to have sex with him.

The 70-year-old listened from the dock as extracts of his police interviews were read to jurors.

Asked by detectives whether his office was "sexually charged" in the 1980s, Clifford told police: "That's probably right. It was that kind of time, entertainers, that's quite possible."

He added: "I never screwed anyone in my office. No-one was ever put in a position to anything that they didn't want to do. Sex was to be enjoyed, not to upset someone or force someone.

"I'm not that kind of man. I would be thoroughly ashamed of myself if I was putting a girl in that kind of predicament."

Clifford told police he never had sexual intercourse in his office but admitted there had been "slap and tickle, kissing and cuddling".

"I might have had oral sex occasionally," he said. "I do think the 60s, 70s and 80s things were different."

Police asked Clifford why he thought the allegations had been made against him.

He replied: "There are people I have turned down.

"Whether it's people who just don't like me because I'm rich and successful.

"There's a probably a lot of girls out there who think they are stars but aren't.

"I know they're not telling the truth."

Clifford told police he did not drink or take drugs and had never paid for sex.

"I know I never forced myself on anybody," he said. "I was never into young girls. I never had to boast about who I knew. I don't respect people who take advantage of their position. It's too easy. Lots of very famous people regularly use hookers. I could never do it. Why? It's a personal pride thing."

Clifford was questioned by detectives about the claims of several women that he talked to them about his "small" penis.

He said: "I didn't say that. I've never been into self-humiliation. I've never been sadistic."

Clifford told police he never had to "cajole" women into have sex with him in the 60s, 70s or 80s.

"Because it was a different era doesn't mean I had to mislead people to have sex with them," he said.

"I had personal pride in myself, ego, call it what you want."

Clifford said an allegation he abused a 12-year-old girl on holiday in Spain in the early 1980s was "repulsive and totally untrue".

He later told police that he was not a "frustrated young guy" in his earlier life.

He said: "My mum and dad had a good sex life. I know because I heard them. I was brought up to think it was fun and natural.

"I wasn't some grubby little wotsit. I have nothing to hide and I have nothing to be ashamed of."

Clifford listened to the interview extracts from the dock with the aid of a hearing loop.

Clifford, from Hersham in Surrey, is accused of 11 counts of indecent assault against seven women and girls.

He denies all the charges.

As Clifford took to the witness box, he went through a raft of photographs of various celebrities.

These included Diana Ross, Kevin Keegan, Sir Elton John and Frank Sinatra. There was also a shot of Sir Tom Jones "before his nose operation".

Clifford also contested some points made by alleged victims, telling the jury that the front seat in his car could not be moved back. One woman alleged that he had moved the passenger seat back until it was "almost horizontal" before groping her.

Clifford also told the court that he had never had a lock on his office door.

Clifford told the court he was brought up in a "happy family" and regularly played practical jokes, which he continued in later life.

After leaving school with no qualifications, he worked as a newspaper journalist with South London News group, he said. Clifford told the court he later joined record label EMI in the 1960s, which worked with the Beatles, Cliff Richard and a host of Motown acts including the Jackson 5 and Marvin Gaye.

"You were there to build up their popularity and success through the media," he said.

Clifford married in June 1967 when he was 24, the court heard.

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