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  1. ITV Report

Sir Cliff Richard tells ITV: Sex abuse suspects need anonymity

Sir Cliff Richard has called for a change in the law to ensure anonymity for people accused of sex abuse until there is a charge.

In an exclusive interview with ITV's Good Morning Britain, Sir Cliff said he still felt "tarnished" despite prosecutors saying last week that he would face no charges over allegations of historic sexual abuse.

Footage of the police raid on his house in 2014 was broadcast live on BBC television.

  • The effect of the allegations

When asked whether the allegations had changed the way he trusted people, Sir Cliff said:

Yes to a certain extent it (has), I am very cagey now when I am having pictures taken with people.

And I don't like that feeling, because I've always had photographs taken with grandparents and their grandchildren.

I have had my arms around their grandchildren, that's my life, I'm a family entertainer and that's what I have done. But that's one thing I am going to have to try and get rid of.

– Sir Cliff Richard
  • Anonymity for sex abuse suspects before charge
Sir Cliff Richard. Credit: PA

Having been under suspicion since the raid on his house in 2014, Sir Cliff said he believes the names of those accused of sex abuse "should never be out there" until there is a charge.

"The Leveson report, he wrote that there as a guideline for how the police should behave and it's very simple, it says, ’except in exceptional circumstances, people should never be named unless they are charged’," he said.

"In the case of people like myself or anybody that is not charged with, this is sexual molestation, the name should never be out there, unless you have been charged, and here I am 22 months and a week later and no charge.

"I don't like the idea of being collateral damage, and that's what I’ve been for 22 months."

  • 'Illegal collusion' behind police raid
South Yorkshire Police raided Sir Cliff's home in Berkshire, and it was broadcast live on BBC television. Credit: PA

Sir Cliff Richard said there "must have been illegal collusion" behind events that culminated in a police raid of his home being broadcast live on BBC News.

The singer said he was considering taking legal action for the "gross intrusion" into his privacy.

He was at his Portugal vineyard in August 2014 when he discovered that footage of detectives searching his Berkshire home was being broadcast live on television.

There must have been illegal collusion. 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.

I feel I have every right to sue because, if nothing else, definitely for gross intrusion of my privacy.

– Sir Cliff Richard

The BBC said it is "very sorry" for the "distress" caused by broadcasting the raid live on television, but added that it "stands by" the decision to report the investigation by South Yorkshire Police.

"The BBC at every stage reported Sir Cliff's full denial of the allegations," the corporation said.

South Yorkshire Police, meanwhile, said it apologises "wholeheartedly" for the "additional anxiety" caused by its handling of "media interest in the case".

  • 'Euphoric' over CPS decision

In a separate interview on ITV's Loose Women, Sir Cliff said he was "euphoric" when he found out that he will not face charges from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and "hasn't stopped smiling" since.

The 75-year-old told Gloria Hunniford that he is "confused" how he ever came to be investigated, and said the people who made the allegations against him "must really hate me for some reason".

"I haven't stopped smiling since that time a couple of days back and all I've drunk is champagne," he said.

"I cannot actually explain how bad it was for me. Unless you've been through something like this when that cloud got lifted. The last five minutes waiting for that good news was the toughest part.

"My whole life is hanging in five minutes and it was so disastrous the feeling that something might go wrong at this late stage.

"I'm kind of confused how this ever happened to me. I've always been the nice boy of pop and yet the people who've made allegations against me must really hate me for some reason, they have to hate me. I have no idea what I've done.

"I haven't slept well for 22 months and two days and still I can't sleep. I think it's going to take quite a while because what's not going to change for me is what I've been through and it has been horrible."