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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Brian Lawless

Cliff Richard won't be prosecuted over historical sex abuse claims

Singer says he was “hung out like live bait” as police say there is insufficient evidence against him.

SINGER SIR CLIFF Richard is to face no further action following a British police investigation into allegations of historical sex abuse.

In a statement this morning, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said South Yorkshire Police had “carefully reviewed evidence relating to claims of non-recent sexual offences dating between 1958 and 1983 made by four men.”

“We have decided that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute,” the statement said.

In a statement issued this morning, Richard, 75, said he was “thrilled that the vile accusations and the resulting investigation have finally been brought to a close”.

But he said being named before he was even interviewed by police in relation to the allegations meant he was “hung out like live bait”.

Sir Cliff Richard investigation Joe Giddens Joe Giddens

“Ever since the highly-publicised and BBC-filmed raid on my home, I have chosen not to speak publicly,” Richard said.

…This was despite the widely-shared sense of injustice resulting from the high-profile fumbling of my case from day one. Other than in exceptional cases, people who are facing allegations should never be named publicly until charged.
I was named before I was even interviewed and for me, that was like being hung out like ‘live bait’.

Richard added the CPS’s statement did not go far enough “in some people’s eyes”.

“It doesn’t expressly state that I am innocent, which of course I am,” he said.

Sir Cliff Richard investigation PA Wire / Press Association Images The singer in 1963. PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

There lies the problem. My reputation will not be fully vindicated because the CPS policy is to only say something general about there being ‘insufficient’ evidence. How can there be evidence for something that never took place!

The investigation into the allegations against Richard became public in August 2014, when police raided his home in Berkshire.

Sir Cliff Richard investigation Andrew Matthews Sir Cliff Richard's home in Berkshire. Andrew Matthews

South Yorkshire Police apologised to Richard this morning for its handling of the case.

“The force apologises wholeheartedly for the additional anxiety caused by our initial handling of the media interest in this case,” it said in a statement.

Police said the investigation is estimated to have cost about £800,000 (€1 million) since the initial allegation was made in April 2014.

“We appreciate that waiting for a conclusion will undoubtedly have caused additional distress to all those involved and we have made every effort to ensure this has been as timely as possible,” it said.

However, it is in the interests of justice to investigate such matters thoroughly.  We have a duty to explore any allegations relating to sexual abuse and other crimes and will go wherever the evidence takes us in order to protect victims and stop offending.

Read: Orlando shooter’s wife ‘tried to talk him out of violence but did not call police’ say reports

Read: Bob Geldof and his ‘we’re going to need a bigger boat’ battle with Brexit

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