Shamed publicist Max Clifford has been sentenced to eight years in prison for a string of sexual offences. The 71-year-old was found guilty of eight counts of indecent assault against four women aged between 15 and 19.

He was told by Judge Anthony Leonard: “The reason why (your crimes) were not brought to light sooner was because of your dominant character. Your victims thought you were untouchable, something I think you too believed.”

The judge also condemned Clifford’s “contemptuous attitude” and said some of the assaults he committed would be considered rape under current legislation. In sentencing Clifford, the judge had to use guidelines in force when the offences were committed in the 1970s and 1980s.

Clifford refused to apologise to his victims when he arrived at Southwark Crown Court, defiantly telling a reporter “I stand by everything I’ve said in the past.” Asked by the reporter whether that included his description of the women as “liars” and “fantasists”, the PR guru refused to answer and walked away to pose for photographers.

Clifford used to represent some of the UK’s top celebrities, including music mogul Simon Cowell and Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis. Both men have severed ties with his company, Max Clifford Associates, which was expected to be shut down after the judge passed sentence.

DCI Michael Orchard, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “Without the support of Clifford’s victims, we would not have secured these successful convictions, and I commend them for their courage, strength and confidence. I hope this case gives other victims courage to come forward.”

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