Max Clifford, who said he could only do a ‘gay voice’, found guilty of sex charges

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Celebrity publicist Max Clifford, who told a jury in his sex abuse trial the only voice he can put on is a “gay” one, has been found guilty of eight indecent assaults on women and girls as young as 15.

He was cleared of two charges of indecent assault, while the jury at Southwark Crown Court failed to reach a verdict on another charge.

Clifford will be sentenced on Friday.

Giving evidence during the trial in March, Clifford denied claims he had impersonated Hollywood directors and producers such as Michael Winner, Cubby Broccoli and Charles Bronson on the phone.

He said he had sometimes used fake identities because it was a way of “checking people out and getting to the truth”.

But he said he could only do a “gay voice”.

Several of his accusers said they received calls from a man with an effeminate voice urging them to contact Max Clifford.

The 70-year-old denied making those calls or using the names.

Clifford is a controversial character. The PR guru told in August 2009 that he had urged gay and bisexual footballers to remain in the closet, claiming he knew of several gay and bisexual footballers in the Premier League.

He said: “I have been advising a top premiership star who is bisexual. If it came out that he had gay tendencies, his career would be over in two minutes. Should it be? No, but if you go on the terraces and hear the way fans are, and also, that kind of general attitude that goes with football, it’s almost like going back to the dark ages.”

“I’ve been telling lies on behalf of people, businessmen, politicians and countries for 40 years,” Clifford declared during a PR Week debate in 2007.

“It shouldn’t be necessary, but it is. I’d rather be honest, but I cannot be all the time. The only mantra I work to is that your duty is to your client.

“I lie on behalf of a cross-dressing MP, a prominent businessman who is having an affair with a man, and a gay footballer. Always the aim is to keep their identity out of the press.

“I’m proud I’ve been able to do it. There’s only been one footballer who was revealed to be gay, and he hanged himself. I know the ruin that will befall these people if news gets out. Here, the truth is destructive – I lie because there is no choice.”

In responce to today’s verdict, Peter Watt, Director of National Services at the NSPCC, said: “Clifford was a rich and influential man who dined with the stars but the way he manipulated and groomed his victims is typical of many sex offenders. He exploited their vulnerabilities, using lies and coercion to get what he wanted.

“Throughout the court case Clifford has behaved dismissively and arrogantly towards his victims and the suffering he has caused them. He made them go through a long and painful court case and relive their traumatic experiences by not pleading guilty.”