Max Clifford Credit: C4

Max Clifford: Timeline of his downfall, including sexual assault allegations and conviction

He was one of the first to be convicted as part of Operation Yewtree

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Max Clifford made his name as a publicist representing the rich and famous – all the while hiding his own grotesque crimes from the world.

In Max Clifford: The Fall of a Tabloid King (airing on Monday, March 01, 2021), Channel 4 examines how Max used his power to manipulate and abuse vulnerable girls.

The documentary goes behind the headlines to reveal the story of the infamous PR man who was jailed for indecent assaults against underage girls and young women.

Here’s a timeline of Max’s downfall.

Channel 4 examines 
Max Clifford in his career heyday (Credit: Andrew Testa/Shutterstock)

Read more: David Beckham’s former PA claims Max Clifford offered her £1million to make a sex tape

Max Clifford career: What was he famous for?

Max Clifford was one of the most influential men in Britain – perhaps even carrying more sway than politicians, celebrities and multi-millionaires.

During his 20-year career, the British publicist represented the likes of Marvin Gaye, Muhammad Ali, O.J. Simpson and Marlon Brando.

He launched the careers of countless stars and had a celebrity client list that included Simon Cowell, Rebecca Loos and Jade Goody.

Max was born in Kingston upon Thames on April 6 1943, the youngest of four children.

He left school at 15 with no qualifications.

Max landed a role as editorial assistant on British comic the Eagle and went on to train as a journalist.

After working in newspapers for a few years, he joined EMI press office in 1962 and had the job of promoting the then relatively unknown Beatles.

In 1970, aged 27, Max started his own PR agency, Max Clifford Associates.

He came to public attention after creating the infamous “Freddie Starr ate my hamster” headline for The Sun in an effort to draw attention to his client.

Max and Simon Cowell relationship

Max represented Simon Cowell for over a decade.

He shaped Simon’s public image, according to popular opinion.

However, Simon dropped Max Clifford following his 2014 conviction.

Max Clifford with his second wife Jo at a red carper event (Credit: Splash)
Max Clifford with his second wife Jo at a red carper event (Credit: Splash)

Read more: Disgraced celebrity PR guru dies after prison collapse

Max Clifford crimes: What was he arrested for?

Metropolitan Police officers arrested Max at his home on December 06 2012 on suspicion of sexual offences.

The arrest was part of Operation Yewtree which was set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal.

Police took Max to a central London police station for questioning.

The two alleged offences dated from 1977.

On April 26 2013, he was charged with a further eleven indecent assaults between 1966 and 1985 on girls and women aged 14 to 19.

He claimed the allegations were “completely false”.

Max Clifford crimes: Conviction

On May 28 2013, Max pleaded not guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

A hearing took place at Southwark Crown Court on June 12 2013.

A date for his trial was set for March 4 2014.

Max was tried in March 2014 and found guilty of eight counts of indecent assault on four girls and women aged between 15 and 19.

PR guru Max Clifford with client Imogen Thomas before his fall from grace (Credit: Splash)


A judge sentenced Max to eight years in prison on May 02 2014.

Judge Anthony Leonard told Max he should serve at least half his sentence in prison.

He believed Max had also assaulted a 12-year-old girl in Spain, although this charge could not be pursued in the British courts.

Following the verdict, Peter Watt – Director of Child Protection at the NSPCC – stated: “Max Clifford has rightly been unmasked as a ruthless and manipulative sex offender who preyed for decades on children and young women.”

Max Clifford crimes: When was he jailed?

Max Clifford was jailed in 2014.

He was one of the first to be convicted as part of Operation Yewtree’s investigations into historic sex crimes.

From November 7 2014, he served his sentence at HM Prison Littlehey.

He did not show any remorse for his crimes and continued to call his accusers “fantasists” and “opportunists”.

Max Clifford pictured with Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel (Credit: Splash)

Is Max Clifford dead? When did he die?

Max died on December 10 2017, three days after suffering a heart attack in jail.

He collapsed in HM Prison Littlehey after trying to clean his cell.

The disgraced media manager was 74 years old when he died in Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

His victims were still suing him at the time of his death.

He left behind one daughter called Louise.

Max married twice in his life.

The first time to Elizabeth Porter, from 1967 to her tragic death of lung cancer in April 2003.

He went on to marry his former PA Jo Westwood from 2010 to 2014.

She received a decree nisi in May 2014, subsequently ending their four-year marriage.

Max Clifford: The Fall of a Tabloid King on C4

Max Clifford’s victims – some as young as 15 – speak for the first time in this chilling documentary about the former PR guru’s crimes.

The documentary also provides previously unheard audio recordings of Max and is able to piece together a disturbing picture of a ruthless and manipulative sex offender.

There are also explosive revelations about Max and the industry that kept his secret for decades.

Sacha Mirzoeff, Head of Channel 4 Bristol and Factual Commissioner, says: “With skilful storytelling and strong testimony from a variety of friends, colleagues and victims they start to reveal and unravel the mind of the convicted sex offender who was one of the most powerful and complex public figures of his generation.”

Max Clifford: The Fall of a Tabloid King airs on Monday March o1 2021 at 10pm on Channel 4.

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