Rape claim girl contacts PR boss

The 17-year-old girl who claims she was gang raped by a string of football stars has contacted a leading public relations consultant, it emerged today.

Max Clifford said the girl and her father had called him but he stressed they had made no mention of selling her story.

He said they wanted advice and protection from a "media scrum" developing around them.

The girl was understood to be meeting lawyers today who will explain to her the potential legal ramifications of her allegations.

"I have already been discussing this with the girl herself, and the father of the girl, because they have contacted me and asked me to help them, to advise them and to protect them," Mr Clifford told BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show.

"They are very conscious of the fact that people they know are being approached by all kinds of people claiming to be the media with all kinds of information.

"No-one is discussing anything about selling stories."

Mr Clifford later told PA News that he had spoken to the girl once and her father several times.

He said the girl sounded "vulnerable" and was "very upset, very emotional and very frightened".

Hurt and upset

He said: "Both her and her father and mother want justice.

"That's what matters most to them. They are obviously very hurt and very upset.

"Her father is very angry and concerned for his daughter, the same as any father would be in those circumstances, and he wants to protect her."

Mr Clifford said the family were aware that any

conversation with a media outlet could jeapordise legal proceedings and there was "no way" that would happen.

He said: "This is about getting justice for her and getting her protection."

The girl told police she agreed to have sex with one Premiership star and was then attacked by up to seven others in Room 316 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London's Park Lane on Saturday, September 27.

The players alleged to have been involved are from more than one Premiership club.

Newspapers are unable to print their names for legal reasons but rumours about their identities have flooded the Internet and circulated among fans.

Police examine hotel list

Commander John Yates, in overall charge of the police case, said today: "We have a list of all those staying or working in the hotel during the relevant time period.

"My officers are currently taking steps to contact those people."

He urged anyone who was staying or working at the hotel to come forward.

"I would emphasise that this investigation is still at an early stage," he said.

"I will not put a timescale on how the matters will progress.

"Rape and sexual assault investigations are by their very nature extremely complex.

"It is thus vitally important that the police are in a position to consider all of the circumstances prior to taking any action.

"This will take time and I urge all those involved to show patience and restraint.

"I have read speculation in the media regarding possible timescales and our next course of action.

"Our investigation will take as long as necessary.

"It's quality and fairness to all those involved are the most vital things.

"We are following a comprehensive investigative strategy and will continue with our inquiries in order to be in a position to consider the most appropriate course of action.

"This will involve ongoing consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.

"I would hate to see any chance of possible future proceedings put in jeopardy by further speculation or equally, for men who have not been charged with any crime and who may not be linked to this offence to face a trial by media."

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