What is Cliff Richard doing now?

Singer has thrown his support behind a pressure group pushing for anonymity before charge in relation to sexual offences

Cliff Richard
(Image credit: Neil Mockford/Getty Images)

Why Sir Cliff Richard is suing the BBC and South Yorkshire Police

7 October

Sir Cliff Richard is suing the BBC and South Yorkshire Police after he was investigated over allegations of historical sexual assault.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Lawyers filed legal papers at the High Court in London yesterday, naming the singer as a claimant and the BBC and chief constable of South Yorkshire Police as defendants.

Richard faced a long investigation based on accusations dating between 1958 and 1983 made by four men, but was never arrested or charged.

In June, the Crown Prosecution Service said it would take no further action on the grounds of "insufficient evidence". This decision was reviewed last month with the conclusion that dropping the case had been the correct outcome.

The High Court papers give "little detail" of the lawsuit, reports the Daily Telegraph, but the singer has previously criticised the BBC and police for a controversial live broadcast of a police raid at his Berkshire home in 2014.

A BBC spokesman told the newspaper: "While we haven't received any notification of action, we've said previously we are very sorry that Sir Cliff has suffered distress but we have a duty to report on matters of public interest and we stand by our journalism."

South Yorkshire Police is yet to comment.

Sir Cliff Richard: Decision to drop sex abuse case upheld

27 September

The decision to drop the sex assault case against Sir Cliff Richard was "correct", the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said following a full review of the evidence.

Claims the singer had assaulted four men between 1958 and 1983 were dropped in June, with the CPS saying there was "insufficient evidence" to prosecute the 75-year-old, who was never arrested.

Applications to review two of the decisions were made under the victims' right to review scheme.

But today, the CPS said: "In accordance with the scheme, a CPS lawyer who was not involved in the original decision-making process has completed a full review of the evidence and has concluded that the decisions not to charge were correct."

Richard, who is suing the BBC and South Yorkshire Police over live coverage of a raid on his home in 2014, said: "As I have said previously, I'm innocent so I'm obviously pleased with today's CPS decision and the speed with which they reached it. I hope that it brings this matter to a close."

Earlier this year, the star revealed how the investigation had "ruined" two years of his life.

"I felt as though I was in this hole and I had no means of getting out. I didn't know how I could face the future or face my friends or face my family," he told the Daily Mail.

Sir Cliff Richard: 'Fresh anguish' as abuse claims are reviewed

31 August

Sir Cliff Richard is said to be facing "fresh anguish" as the decision to drop sex abuse charges against him goes under review.

An independent lawyer will review the evidence presented to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to determine if a prosecution should or should not have gone ahead following a challenge from one of the singer's accusers.

Richard, 75, was neither arrested nor charged over the historical allegations, which date from 1958 to 1983 and were put forward by four men.

He strongly denied the claims and threatened to take legal action against the BBC and South Yorkshire Police after a raid on his Berkshire home was broadcast live on television.

The case was dropped in June on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

The application to have the case re-examined was made earlier this month under the CPS's "victims' right to review scheme"

The "fresh anguish" comes just two months after Richard said he was attempting to rebuild his life, says the Daily Mail.

He told the newspaper earlier this summer that he "thought he was going to die" during the "really terrifying, really horrible" investigation.

"I can't imagine ever forgetting what these people have done to me. It has damaged me in many, many ways," he said.

Sir Cliff Richard prepares to sue BBC over police raid

25 August

Sir Cliff Richard is set to sue the BBC after the corporation stood by its decision to broadcast live footage of a police raid on his home.

South Yorkshire Police raided the veteran singer's Berkshire penthouse in August 2014 over an allegation of a historic sex crime dating from the 1980s. Richard was not at the property at the time and watched from Portugal as live footage of the search, including shots from a helicopter, was broadcast on the BBC.

The Crown Prosecution Service dismissed the case last month on the grounds of "insufficient evidence".

Richard, who maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, has since spoken about what he considers the improper collusion between the police and BBC.

The star's legal team contacted the BBC earlier this month to warn he was prepared to sue the corporation and South Yorkshire Police for the "unnecessary damage" caused by their cooperation over the raid.

Richard also accused the police of failing to follow guidelines set out by the College of Policing three years ago recommending that suspects are not named until officially charged, although this can be decided on a case-by-case basis.

"Somebody has to teach them a lesson and if it's done by suing, let's do it," Richard told the Daily Mail last month.

Lawyers are thought to have requested around £1m in compensation for the personal and commercial damages incurred by Richard, who claims his health suffered as a result of the publicity surrounding the case and that sales of his annual calendar dropped.

The BBC yesterday denied any wrongdoing and defended the public interest case for broadcasting the raid.

Having been informed that the raid was to take place, "it would neither have been editorially responsible nor in the public interest to choose not to report fully the investigation into Sir Cliff Richard because of his public profile", said a spokesman.

He added that the corporation was "very sorry" Richard had been caused distress.

Cliff Richard: Tony Blair supported me during sex abuse claims

22 June

Sir Cliff Richard has revealed that Tony Blair was among the high-profile figures to offer him support after he was accused of historic sex abuse.

In an interview with Gloria Hunniford today for ITV, Richard said the former prime minister called "just to comfort me".

Blair, whose family were once regular guests at the singer's home in Barbados, apparently rang to say: "I feel so sorry that this has happened. You have our support – we don't believe a word of it."

Sir Elton John and the late Cilla Black also offered words of advice, Richard added.

"Elton was one of the first people that called me – he, actually I can't use the language he used, but he said, 'Go for their rotten throat,'" he said.

"Cilla was right there and of course, I was seeing a lot of her anyway in Barbados, too."

The 75-year-old star said he felt like he was "going to die" when he turned on the television to see the BBC broadcasting live footage of detectives searching his home in Berkshire in August 2014.

Richard, who was in Portugal at the time, believes there was an "illegal collusion" between South Yorkshire Police and the corporation.

The Crown Prosecution Service has since dropped the case due to lack of evidence, but Richard says he lived through "two years of hell" and is looking at taking legal action against both organisations.

"I've never known, I don't think, investigations take place with lighting and cameras and special angles for the helicopter – it just seems ridiculous," he said.

"I feel I have every right to sue because, if nothing else, definitely for gross intrusion of my privacy." [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"96461","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

South Yorkshire Police and the BBC have both apologised to Richard.

Cliff Richard considering suing police and BBC over abuse claims

21 June

Sir Cliff Richard has opened up about his "two years of hell" since South Yorkshire Police raided his home live on the BBC following allegations of historic sex abuse.

The Crown Prosecution Service announced last week that the 75-year-old singer will not face charges due to lack of evidence.

Richard is now considering suing the police force and the BBC.

"We're talking about it with the lawyers and at the appropriate time we'll have made a decision definitely. I do feel that they owe me something," he told the Daily Mail.

Richard's house in Berkshire was raided on 14 August 2014, with the BBC live-broadcasting the scene from a helicopter above.

Once the story broke, the singer received calls from his family and others describing what they had seen on television.

"I didn't vomit, but the greatest knot in the stomach arrived," he told the Mail. "It was like a boulder. You know, you just have that, 'God, what is happening to me?'"

It was not until the next day that the enormity of the sex assault accusation, dating back to 1985, sunk in, he said.

"That was the moment of my biggest despair. I just collapsed. I couldn't imagine what depression was like, but I have an idea now. I felt as though I was in this hole and I had no means of getting out," he said.

"I didn't know how I could face the future or face my friends or face my family. I was in tears, I have to admit.

"I was on my knees in tears in the kitchen. I was thinking, 'How can I get out of this? How can I ever climb out of this hole.' Somebody got me to my feet and said, 'You've got to stand up, you are not guilty, hold your head up, you can do it.'"

The singer said he was in tears again last week following the announcement that there was no evidence to support the claim.

Nevertheless, he said he had forgiven his accuser. "He probably doesn’t even know I've forgiven him, but me forgiving him is not as good as God forgiving him. But only he can ask for that forgiveness."

Richard has also recorded an hour-long interview with his close friend Gloria Hunniford, which will be shown in full during Loose Women tomorrow.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us