Jury out again in Clifford trial

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Publicist Max Clifford is accused of 11 counts of indecent assault against seven women and girls Publicist Max Clifford is accused of 11 counts of indecent assault against seven women and girls

Jurors in the trial of veteran celebrity agent Max Clifford have begun a fifth day of deliberations.

A panel of 10 people - six men and four women - is considering verdicts in the case at London's Southwark Crown Court after two jurors were separately discharged from the case.

Clifford, 71, is accused of 11 counts of indecent assault on seven alleged victims, all of which he denies.

During the six-week trial, prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC said Clifford was a "master in the art of intimidation", using his celebrity connections to "bully and manipulate" girls and young women into sex acts over a period of nearly 20 years.

The PR consultant treated his office as his own "sexual fiefdom" and "playground", taking "what he wanted when he wanted", she said.

Clifford, from Hersham in Surrey, told the jury that the allegations against him were "a load of lies" as he accused the alleged victims of being "fantasists and opportunists".

The alleged offences are said to have taken place between 1966 and 1984 - before Clifford found widespread fame with his links to tabloid stories including The Sun's Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster front page, the court heard.

The alleged assaults are said to have happened in cars and at his New Bond Street offices in central London, jurors have been told.

On some occasions, Clifford told the girls to take off their clothes. On others, he made them perform sex acts on him, and in some cases, he forced himself on them, it is alleged.

The women - who do not know each other - came forward to police in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, the court heard.

A number of other witnesses - not complainants in the case - also made allegations against Clifford, including one woman who claimed she was just 12 when she was assaulted by the publicist while in a jacuzzi in Spain.

The alleged incident, said to have happened in 1983, could not be included in the charges as it took place abroad, the jury heard.

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

A doctor measured Clifford's penis at an "average" five-and-a-quarter inches long when flaccid, the jury has been told.

Judge Leonard has warned jurors to ignore other recent high-profile sex assault cases, which he told them are irrelevant to their considerations.

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