Publicist Max Clifford died from heart problems, inquest in Huntingdon hears

Littlehey Prison

Littlehey Prison - Credit: Archant

Disgraced publicist Max Clifford died from heart disease, a preliminary inquest hearing in Huntingdon has been told.

Disgraced publicist Max Clifford died from heart disease, a preliminary inquest hearing in Huntingdon has been told.

Assistant coroner Simon Milburn called for a report from an expert cardiologist giving an overview of the case before resuming the inquest on Mr Clifford, 74, who died at Hinchingbrooke Hospital on December 10 last year.

The publicist, who represented top names from the world of entertainment and masterminded tabloid newspaper stories, had been taken ill at Littlehey Prison where he was serving an eight-year sentence for sex offences.

His daughter Louise has raised concerns about his care in the period leading up to his death and took part in the inquest over a telephone link.

Representatives from Hinchingbrooke and Papworth Hospital, prison health care and the Ministry of Justice were also present, together with Mr Clifford’s own doctor, Ann Coxon.

The pre-inquest review on June 7 heard that Mr Clifford died from congestive cardiac failure, with cardiac AL amyloidosis and plasma cell neoplasm being secondary features.

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Mr Milburn said: “The central point is likely to be the treatment Mr Clifford received at various hospitals.”

He added: “On the face of it this is a natural causes death, unless something happens to make it unnatural.”

Mr Milburn told the hearing that a death from natural causes would not trigger the need for a jury, which often sit on prison death-related cases, when the full inquest takes place.

Miss Clifford said there had been an “uphill struggle” to get treatment for her father and there appeared to be a communications problem.

She agreed to make a statement which will go before the inquest.

Dr Coxon said: “It is a system problem, it is not an individual problem”

She added: “Somebody has to be told that the patient is seriously ill and I don’t think they were.”

Mr Milburn said a second pre-inquest review would need to take place, probably in September or October, before the full inquest could be held.

Mr Clifford was jailed after being convicted of eight sex offences involving women and girls following Operation Yewtree, set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

He had been expected to appeal against the convictions.