Clifford a decent man, says Quirke

Mid Devon Star: Publicist Max Clifford, 70, is accused of 11 counts of indecent assault against seven women and girls Publicist Max Clifford, 70, is accused of 11 counts of indecent assault against seven women and girls

Public relations guru Max Clifford is a "good, decent man", actress Pauline Quirke told a court today.

"The word I've always associated with Max, since I've known him, is the word integrity," the Birds Of A Feather star said.

She was giving evidence for Clifford, 70, at London's Southwark Crown Court, where he is standing trial accused of 11 counts of indecent assault against seven girls and women - all of which he denies.

Quirke told the court she had known Clifford for 20 years, having met him through their work for the charity the Rhys Daniels Trust, where they are both vice-patrons.

They went on the celebrity version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and raised £32,000 for the charity.

She said: "We are good friends, we've been out for dinner, Max has been to my house for dinner, I've been to his house, he was at my wedding, I was at his wedding."

Asked by Richard Horwell QC, defending, how well she had got to know Clifford, she said: "We didn't have any holidays together, or that sort of thing, but I would say he's a good, decent man, yeah.

"I've been in his company on a number of occasions and found him very down to earth, a normal, decent man."

Asked if she had ever seen him behave inappropriately with a woman, or heard of him behaving inappropriately with a woman, she said: "I've certainly never seen him behave inappropriately with a woman, and I've never heard any rumours over the years."

Sky TV presenter Clare Tomlinson said she worked for Clifford for six months from January 1991 as his personal assistant.

"I wanted to work in football, and we parted on very amicable terms," she said.

Asked to describe him, she said: "He wasn't a strict boss, he had an old school charm, he would open a door for you, he worried about you getting home if you had been to a function."

Asked if the office had been "sexually charged", as has been alleged during the case, she said: "Certainly not during my six months, or any time after if I visited the hairdresser downstairs, and went for a cup of tea - it wasn't like that."

She said Clifford was "avuncular with ladies", adding: "He wasn't the sort who would pat people on the bum."

Ms Tomlinson told the court: "In my career subsequently I have experienced sexual bullying and harassment, and I wouldn't be here giving evidence if I believed that Max was capable of that sort of thing."

Carmen Almeida, who worked from 1987 as manager of a beauty salon at a hairdresser's below Clifford's office in New Bond Street, said: "It was a normal atmosphere, I had no reason for concern whatsoever. There was no gossip or anything that would have concerned me."

The jury was sent away until 10am tomorrow.

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