Broadcaster and Lib Dem MP Sir Clement Freud accused of abusing two girls


The late broadcaster and MP Sir Clement Freud has been accused of abusing two girls between the late 1940s and 1970s.

Sylvia Woosley, who first met Freud when she was 10 and later went to live with him when her mother's marriage broke down, claims in an ITV Exposure documentary that he molested her over several years.

A second woman, who wants to remain anonymous, alleged that the Liberal politician also abused her as a child and raped her when she was 18.

Sir Clement Freud

In a statement released in response to the programme, his widow Jill Freud, 89, said she was "deeply saddened and profoundly sorry for what has happened to these women".

In the programme, due to be broadcast on Wednesday, Woosley, now in her late 70s, said: "I just want to clear things up before I die...I want to die clean. Having been so hard on myself, trying to destroy myself so many times, you can't bury the truth forever, it needs to be heard.

"I don't want to take this to my tomb. I would like to just return to the child I was before I was molested physically, before I was introduced to that side of life too early."

She told the programme she first met Freud, known as Clay, when he was aged 24 and worked at the Martinez hotel in Cannes in the late 1940s. She was 10 and her family was living in the south of France.

Sir Clement Freud and his wife Jill leaving St James Church in London after their wedding

The second woman said that she first met Freud in 1971 at her family home as a "lonely, neglected and socially isolated" 11-year-old.

Then a celebrity, he would call her on the phone and tell her she was special and intelligent, and was treated as a surrogate father figure by her parents, she said.

Two years later, after he was elected as an MP, he would take her on trips to Parliament and his home, and would kiss her on the mouth and hug her.

Writer, broadcaster and politician Freud, who died at his desk aged 84 in 2009, first became a household name in the 1960s and 70s in Minced Morsels dog food adverts.

Freud became a Rector of St Andrews University in 2003 (David Cheskin/PA)

A celebrated food, sport and comment print journalist, he also enjoyed a long career as a television and radio personality, regularly contributing to Radio 4´s Just A Minute for 30 years and featuring on shows including Have I Got News For You.

Freud's widow said: "This is a very sad day for me. I was married to Clement for 58 years and loved him dearly. I am shocked, deeply saddened and profoundly sorry for what has happened to these women. I sincerely hope they will now have some peace."

A spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats said the party was "deeply shocked and horrified by this news".

Adding: "These allegations are horrific. We are desperately sorry to learn that lives have been ruined by a man whose public face was so greatly at odds to his true character. It has clearly taken a lot of courage for these women to speak out, after a lifetime of having to hide it."

Exposure: Abused and Betrayed - A Life Sentence will be broadcast on ITV at 11:05pm on Wednesday.