6th May 2014

Have we heard the last of Max Clifford?

One of the most common phrases used by journalists when discussing Max Clifford still remains: “He knows where all the bodies are buried.”

For decades Clifford was one of the most powerful men around Fleet Street.

Journalists gave top priority to a story provided by his team at Max Clifford Associates. Editors pandered to him and paid him handsomely and woe betide any ‘celebrity’ who fell foul of him or one of his clients.

So it’s no surprise that his eight year jail sentence for indecent assault last week was greeted with popping champagne corks among some of his victims.

Former MP David Mellor was one. His affair with Antonia Da Sancha is one of Clifford’s most famous scoops. And it came to light recently that half the detail in the salacious kiss and tell story was invented by Clifford to make the story more sellable.

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On hearing of Clifford’s conviction Mr Mellor said: “Max Clifford delighted in humiliating his victims. At the end, there is a God. I don’t think there will be another Max Clifford. I’m not unkind about many people, I don’t bear grudges but in his case I’ll make an exception, I hope he rots in hell.”

Christine Hamilton, who along with husband Neil, successfully sued Clifford for defamation said: “I can’t think of another person whom I would describe this way, but he is wicked. My husband would possibly put it in stronger words. He might agree with David Mellor, who said, ‘May he rot in hell’.”

As a former journalist who dealt with Max Clifford and his staff on many occasions it didn’t take long to realise just how much power he held.

Stories he provided had to work and if he felt things weren’t being done properly he would go straight to the top to have his say.

We’ve all met them in life, those people who hint that they know your boss and won’t be shy to pick up the phone if they think things aren’t being done to their liking.

His behaviour and sheer arrogance all the way throughout his trial, his lack of apology to his victims will all be no surprise to those that have had dealings with him.

His very ill-advised antics outside the courtroom where his trial was being held when he sneaked up on a Sky News reporter mimicking the journalist’s hand actions, show more than any words just how he felt.

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The judge agreed and in his sentencing remarks said:  “For my part I would add something that since the jury have returned verdicts I have discovered that you appeared behind a reporter outside this court whilst he was making his report of your evidence and during which you mimicked his actions in a way that was designed to trivialise these events. I find your behaviour to be quite extraordinary and a further indication that you show no remorse.”

And speaking of how long it took for the offences to come to light he said: “I judge that the reason why they were not brought to light sooner is because of your own dominant character and your position in the world of entertainment which meant that your victims thought you were untouchable, something I judge that you, too, believed and traded upon.”

But will a man like Clifford stay silent?  There can be absolutely no doubt that he will be privy to some sensitive information regarding important and famous people.

Already there are stories in the press hinting that we may not have heard the end of the man who boasted he was just as good at keeping scandal out of the press as revealing it.

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He may be in prison and a ruined man but I very much doubt that we have heard the last of Max Clifford.

By Dave Goddard, Head of Media