Max Clifford is acting for Alfie Patten for free – and would have told him not to go public if he’d had the chance, he revealed this weekend.
Clifford said he only became involved in the 13-year-old’s story after the story had been sold to The Sun.
‘They weren’t happy about a lot of the things that were going on, and what they were reading and hearing, so it was a question of saying, ‘Well, we’ll do our best to control as much as we can as quickly as we can’,’Clifford told The Guardian.
“There’s nothing in it for me from a financial point of view, but I felt, I suppose, a bit sorry for them. I feel I’ve been able to help them make the best of a bad situation.
‘It’s difficult to understand how the whole thing works unless you’ve had experience of it. They basically thought they had a story, they’d get themselves a few thousand pounds, and that would be it.”
He added: ‘Had they come to me in the first place I would have said, ‘Keep it between the families, sort yourselves out, sort the little one out, don’t go public, don’t talk to anybody,’ as I do frequently when people come to me.
”It’s not in your interest. You might make a few thousand pounds from this, but believe me you’ll have a nightmare and you’ll be torn apart, because apart from anything else if you do an exclusive everybody else is your enemy.
‘So short-term gain, long-term pain. That’s what I would have said, but by the time they came to me it was too late.”
Clifford – who also oversees Jade Goody’s publicity – said other, less visible stories, take up more of his time.
‘I have been just as busy this week on Simon Cowell as on either of those two,’he said.
‘Because of a particular story, a business story, which was coming from America that I’ve been trying desperately to stop and that we so far have stopped.”