clement freud paedophile sex abuser
Much-loved broadcaster Clement Freud was a paedophile and rapist, it has been confirmedKeystone/Getty Images

Broadcaster and politician, Sir Clement Freud, was a serial paedophile and rapist, committing crimes over a period of decades, it has been revealed. Freud, who died in 2009, regularly abused a girl he brought up as his own daughter from the age of 10 and also raped a teenage girl when he was an MP for the Liberal Party, the fore-runner to the Liberal Democrats.

The news emerged when a woman called Sylvia Woosley contacted the ITV news team — the same team who exposed Jimmy Savile — to tell them she had been abused for many years by Freud, from the age of 10 to when she left his home aged 19. Another woman, who remained anonymous, said Freud had abused her from the age of 11, raping her when she was 18, by which point he had become a Liberal MP, sharing an office with fellow MP, Cyril Smith.

Sir Clement's wife, June, 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."

According to the Telegraph, Freud owned a Villa in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007, when three-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared. Although his family say he was not in Portugal when she disappeared, he befriended the girl's parents in the following weeks, twice entertaining them at his house. They are said to be horrified by the revelation, though Freud's family say they have not been approached by police investigating McCann's disappearance.

The grandson of Sigmund Freud — part of an artistic and political dynasty that also includes children Emma and Matthew and brother Lucian Freud, the artist — Sir Clement was a much-loved figure on the British cultural scene for years. Knighted in 1987, he died in 2009 and his funeral was attended by stars and public figures including Bono, Gordon Brown, Stephen Fry and Rebekah Wade.

The news about Freud's dark secrets have no doubt shocked and saddened all those who remember him. He is yet another figure from television's 'golden age' to have been exposed for abusing his power and standing as a paedophile and, like Jimmy Savile, the news has only emerged after his death; he has escaped justice, while his victims must live with what he did.

Commenting on the allegations of abuse by Clement Freud, a Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: "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.

"This is the latest in a terrifying line of cases where high profile figures have systematically used their status, celebrity and power, to abuse and to rape. Clement Freud was a senior figure in the Liberals, our party's predecessor, and we are deeply shocked and horrified by this news. Our party was never aware of what happened, and our hearts go out to the women who were affected."

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