Max Clifford trial: Woman claims assault in taxi

Max Clifford arrives at court Image copyright PA
Image caption Max Clifford denies all the charges against him

Max Clifford "launched himself" at a woman he sexually assaulted in a taxi, his trial has heard.

The woman, who was 19 at the time, told Southwark Crown Court Mr Clifford had grabbed her breasts and tried to kiss her during a taxi ride in 1978.

He responded with "verbal abuse" when she tried to "push him off", she said.

Mr Clifford, 70, from Hersham, Surrey, denies 11 counts of indecent assault relating to seven alleged victims, aged from 14 to 19, between 1966 and 1984.

Earlier, the trial heard allegations Mr Clifford told one 15-year-old girl that the actress Julie Christie had encouraged him to take her virginity.

Saying 'horrible things'

Mr Clifford called the 19-year-old woman and asked her to come to his office when she was working for a recruitment agency in 1978, the London court was told.

Giving evidence, she said Mr Clifford had wanted her to find him a new personal assistant, but later interviewed her for the job in a five-hour meeting - during which he spoke about clients including the late actor Oliver Reed.

He told her about Mr Reed's "problematic" sexual preferences, the court heard.

"I remember him specifically saying about Oliver Reed, that he liked young girls, but I don't remember any specifics of the others," she said.

After the meeting, she said she shared a cab with Mr Clifford, who then accosted her.

"On the journey he started trying to kiss me," she said. "He kind of launched himself at me actually, and started trying to kiss me on the mouth, which I said no to."

"I tried to push him off and hold him off," she said, adding that he was then verbally abusive.

"He was insulting, he was saying horrible things to me. He said I had led him on," she said.

Cross-examined about the incident, the woman denied that she had "wanted" his advances.

The woman also testified she had not told police at the time because, prior to Mr Clifford's arrest last year on suspicion of similar offences, she had feared she would not believed.

'Becoming obsessed'

The court earlier heard from a woman who claims the publicist repeatedly abused her when she was 15.

"He asked me which actors I liked. I said Julie Christie," the woman told jurors.

"He said that he was her agent and he said he talked regularly to her and mentioned her on several occasions."

She continued: "I remember him saying to me he had spoken to Julie Christie and - because this had happened to her as well, by that presumably he meant the abuse that he was doing to me - she said he should take my virginity because it would be my first and then I would fall in love with him and be 100% loyal to him."

The woman also denied being "obsessed" with Mr Clifford.

A psychotherapist told the court that she had treated the alleged victim in 2011. She said her client had looked like "she might vomit" as she named Mr Clifford.

"She didn't give precise details of the abuse but it was too horrific for her," the counsellor said.

Under cross-examination, the psychotherapist confirmed she had written in her post-session notes that her client "feels she's becoming obsessed by this".

So far three women, none of whom can be identified, have given evidence against Mr Clifford.

The trial continues.

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