Exclusive: Sir Cliff Richard says 'if heads roll at the BBC it will be deserved' after he wins privacy case

Sir Cliff Richard has told ITV News if heads were to roll at the BBC "it would be deserved" after the 77-year-old singer won his privacy case against the corporation.

Speaking to Julie Etchingham almost four years after the BBC broadcast helicopter images of his home being searched by police, Sir Cliff said: "They [senior managers] have to carry the can. I don't know how they are going to do it, but they'll have to. If heads roll then maybe it's because it was deserved...It's too big a decision to be made badly. It was nonsense."

  • Sir Cliff says if heads were to roll at the BBC it would be deserved

Today Sir Cliff was awarded more than £200,000 in damages at the High Court. He had taken legal action against BBC bosses over broadcasts of a South Yorkshire Police raid on his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, in August 2014, following a child sex assault allegation.

During the hearing Sir Cliff told the judge that coverage, which involved the use of a helicopter, was a "very serious invasion" of his privacy.

The BBC disputed his claims and senior editors said the coverage was accurate and in good faith.

  • Sir Cliff remembers the search of his home by police

Describing the moment he saw police officers searching his home on television while in Portugal as "horrifying", Sir Cliff said he would have "rather been burgled".

"I found myself looking at and I'm thinking 'oh my God'," he said.

"This is unbelievable. I couldn't look at it again in court, when they played it in court I had to stay away from it...I'd rather have been burgled, to be honest with you."

Sir Cliff also revealed he could no longer live at the address following the raid, instead choosing to sell the property at a "loss".

The Congratulations singer said as news of the story spread around the world, he was in "shock" and worried about how the situation could be resolved.

"In seconds that story about me went all over Europe: Holland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Spain, Portugal. All through south-east Asia, Australia, New Zealand," he said.

"It's hard to explain how that feels to me because I have spent so long trying to do things right, to be an ambassador for Britain and I feel I have been an ambassador and I will always be. But it was such a shock to me to think how can I undo this? It seems an impossible thing to undo."

Media outside the Charters Estate in Sunningdale, Berkshire, where police searched Sir Cliff Richard's apartment Credit: PA
  • Sir Cliff on the worst moment following the allegations

Speaking about the "deepest, darkest moment" of the case, Sir Cliff recounts the moment he collapsed on his kitchen floor.

  • Sir Cliff Richard on press freedom

Asked whether Wednesday's judgement could curtail press freedom, Sir Cliff said: "I want a correction made to what happened to me and it was made, nobody said anything about freedom of speech but I will fight to the death against the abuse of the freedom of speech, what the BBC did was an abuse because it seems to ignore anything that was ever stated - Magna Carta, Leveson, the police and they took it upon themselves to be judge, jury and executioner."

He added: "Freedom without responsibility is anarchy. To me this was an anarchic thing to do."

  • Sir Cliff calls for anonymity of individuals before charge

He went on to call for individuals to have the right to anonymity unless charged.

"It's a rule that is already there, it should become a law though...Except in exceptional cases people should not be named until/unless they are charged."

Asked about cases where naming an individual has prompted further victims to come forward, he added: "They will have the opportunity once you are charged. Once you're charged your name will be public and then any victims can come forward."

The singer told ITV News he had spent £4 million in legal fees and described it as "the greatest bit of charity work I'm going to do." Adding, he was fighting for the innocent men in the street who couldn't afford to do the same.

He added: "I quoted in my evidence a judge - Blackstone - from way back and he said he'd rather ten guilty people escape then one innocent person suffer. And I'm thinking, that's like what I've been through. I'm one innocent person but I'm not one, there's an army of us out there that have had to go through things like this."

Sir Cliff Richard speaking to the media after winning his privacy case Credit: PA
  • Sir Cliff on the impact of the case has had on him

Referring to the past three years as "turmoil" he said the allegations made against him had had a significant impact on him and his behaviour.

He said: "I'm sure i'll recover [from this]. There are aspects in my life that I recognise now. For instance, at Wimbledon there's a tunnel between Centre Court and Court One, I used to use it regularly to see the matches I was interested in on Court One. And it went right past the ball boys' dressing room. I won't go there now.

"I won't go anywhere near children...even when I'm having photographs taken, I try not to make contact. It has taken something away from me."

  • Sir Cliff looks towards the future

"I'll be reflecting for the rest of my life on what took place here, today, and over the last four years. It's never going to be an easy thing to forget...When I close my eyes, i'll hope i'll sleep...What I'm going to do tonight is something rather nice, I'm taking a bereaved friend for dinner and that's nice for me. It surpasses everything else," He said.