Max Clifford trial: Witness tells of rape fear in car

Max Clifford Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Max Clifford, pictured outside Southwark Crown Court, denies all charges

A woman has told a court she thought she was going to be raped in publicist Max Clifford's car.

The woman, who cannot be named, was 14 in 1966 when she said he offered her a lift home, drove to an alleyway and "lunged" at her.

Mr Clifford, from Hersham, Surrey, faces 11 counts of indecent assault relating to seven alleged victims, aged from 14 to 19, between 1966 and 1984.

He denies all the charges against him.

Celebrity photographs

Jurors at Southwark Crown Court were told the pair met at a Wimpy bar in south-west London.

The woman said Mr Clifford offered her a lift home, and then drove to an alleyway near a sports field, saying he had something to show her.

When he produced a book of photographs showing him with celebrities including The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, she said she would like to meet the Walker Brothers, jurors heard.

The woman told the court: "He said 'I can arrange that, but this is what you've got to do', and he put my seat right back and then he tried to force himself upon me, basically."

"My seat, I think it went almost horizontal, that's the way it seemed, he then sort of lunged at me and put his body on me.

"He was touching me all over."

The woman said she managed to open the car door, wriggle free and run home.

She said she did not confide in her parents because they were strict and she feared they would have banned her from going out.

She went on: "I was just so happy to be in one piece. I didn't know at the time if I was going to get raped or murdered."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Clifford was first arrested in December 2012

The woman said she told friends over the years about meeting Mr Clifford but did not go to the police until recently.

"As he became more of a household name and people would mention him or he was on the television, I'd say I had a really bad experience with him before he was really famous.

"People always said to me why didn't you go to the police?... Because he was so powerful and he virtually controls the media, what chance would I stand?

Car detail challenged

"If I were to hear it from other people then I would definitely do my bit and tell them what happened, because it was only fair. But I wouldn't have done it on my own because I wouldn't stand a chance."

Cross-examining her, Richard Horwell QC suggested the incident had never happened, and that in 1966 Mr Clifford did not have a car.

She replied: "It did happen, I can't give you the exact date that it happened but it did happen."

The woman said she was not sure of the time of year that the alleged assault occurred, and that it could have been in 1967.

She denied she was "jumping on a bandwagon", saying she had been telling people about the incident for 35 years.

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

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