Madeleine McCann: Police investigating Sir Clement Freud in link to Maddie’s disappearance

Freud has been accused of abusing girls as young as 10 over a number of decades

Clement Freud

by Francesca Battson |
Published on

Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have been alerted that MP Sir Clement Freud, was a paedophile who sexually abused young girls.

Freud became a household name in the 1960s and 70s after appearing in Minced Morsels dog food adverts. He went on to become a writer, broadcaster and politician, and later died in 2009 at his desk aged 84.

Freud owned a holiday home in the Praia da Luz resort where Maddie disappeared in 2007, and met the McCann family in the weeks after the tragic incident.

Madeleine McCann

According to The Telegraph, Clement and Maddie’s parents, Kate and Gerry, stayed in touch by phone and email, and Freud even invited them to his home on at least two occasions.

Freud’s family have said that he was not in Portugal at the time of Maddie’s disappearance.

However, officers from Operation Grange – which was granted nearly £95,000 in extra funding in April to continue the investigation – are expected to assess this new information.

Freud was exposed as a child sex abuser after one of his victims contacted ITV’s Exposure documentary team – who also revealed the story of Jimmy Saville’s paedophilia four years ago.

Clement and wife Lady Jill Freud befriended a family in 1948 whilst Freud was working at a hotel in the South of France, and it was then that he allegedly started to abuse 10 year old Sylvia Woosley.

Following a family crisis four years later, the mother of the family in France reportedly asked Clement and Jill if they would look after Sylvia. Taken in by the couple and brought up as a daughter, Sylvia claims she was continually abused until she moved out aged 19.

During her interview for Exposure: Abused and Betrayed – A Life Sentence, which was aired last night on ITV, Sylvia said: “I just want to clear things up before I die... I want to die clean.

“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.”

During the programme, Sylvia said when she was in her early fourties when she confronted Freud at the House of Commons and asked why he abused her. She said he replied: “Because I loved you. You were a very sensual little girl.”

Exposure: Abused and Betrayed - A Life Sentence
Sylvia and ITV Exposure's Julie Etchingham on Exposure: Abused and Betrayed - A Life Sentence ©ITV

The second woman who came forward on the documentary claimed she first met Freud in 1971, aged 11.

Two years after they are said to have met, Freud was elected as an MP and allegedly would take her to Parliament and his home, and would kiss her on the mouth and hug her, she says.

She said on the ITV programme: “I felt sick but grateful at the same time. Frightened and unable to move or react in any way.”

When she was 14, she claims Freud asked her and a friend of the same age if the pair would “like to get naked and have some fun”.

Four years later, then aged 18, the anonymous woman alleged that he came over to her parents’ flat and “brutally and perfunctorily” raped her.

She said during the interview: “I live in constant terror that I'll be found out, exposed. I've already suffered across nearly 40 years.

“It's not simply to be labelled as depression or mental illness, this is disempowerment, self-destructiveness and grief. This is what real suffering looks like.”

A third alleged victim has told ITV News that she was “paralysed by fear” after she was targeted by Freud.

Clement Freud
Clement and Jill Freud ©Getty

Vicky Hayes claims she befriended politician after she waited on him in her family’s fish and chip shop in Lincoln.

She claims Freud started to show an interest when she was 14 and made sexual advanced towards her when she was 17.

Vicky has claimed that Freud took her virginity during a trip when she was 17: “When I was 17 he turned up again and asked me to go to Newmarket Races to the 1000 Guineas, it meant staying away for a night.

“At that point as far as I was concerned he was a friend of the family.

“On the way he stopped at a restaurant, he plied me with champagne. He didn't drink. I had never had it, I was 17 and was very inebriated.

“He drove to the house. There was no housekeeper just us. He showed me to a room, I got out my nightie, assuming naively I was going to sleep alone.

“He said ‘no need for a nightie get in’, he told me I couldn't put it on.

“I lay there naked he got in and I just lay there afraid, scared and he forced himself on me and took my virginity.

“He stripped the bedsheets because I bled.

“I did what he said, I was terrified, I was too frightened- you can't imagine unless you have been in that situation. I was paralysed by fear.”

Freud enjoyed a long career as television and radio personality, featuring on shows including Have I Got News For You and regularly contributing to Radio 4’s Just A Minute for 30 years.

Freud’s widow Jill, 89, said in a statement: “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.”

We will bring you more on this news as it develops.


Madeleine McCann: Kate and Gerry lodge legal bid against detective claiming they covered Maddie’s death

Madeleine McCann: Why Maddy’s parents weren’t made suspects in investigation

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