PR guru convicted of sex assaults

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iol pic wld Britain Max Clifford~1 AP British public relations guru Max Clifford stops to pose for members of the media as he arrives for his trial at Southwark Crown Court in London. Picture: Matt Dunham

London - Max Clifford, Britain's top public relations guru, was found guilty Monday of a string of sexual assaults in the first conviction stemming from a police investigation launched after the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Jurors at a London court found the 71-year-old Clifford guilty of eight counts of indecent assault relating to four women as young as 15.

The silver-haired celebrity publicist was found not guilty of two other counts, while the jury was unable to reach a verdict on another count.

He was granted bail ahead of sentencing on Friday.

"You must realise that the fact I have given you bail is no indication of what the final sentence will be," judge Anthony Leonard told him.

Clifford is the first high-profile figure to be convicted under Operation Yewtree, the police probe set up to investigate allegations of sex offences following the Savile scandal.

The prosecution told the trial that Clifford's victims came forward following revelations in 2012 that the late BBC presenter Savile - a household name in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s - had been a serial sex offender.

The offences date from before Clifford achieved widespread fame in Britain with his links to several well-known celebrity news stories.

Prosecutors alleged Clifford used his showbusiness connections to "bully and manipulate" young women into sex acts.

Clifford had told the court the claims were "a load of lies", with his victims being "fantasists and opportunists".

Following a six-week trial, jurors had been in their eighth day of deliberations when they returned to the courtroom to deliver their verdicts. - AFP

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