Singer Cliff Richard has declined to answer questions about sex abuse allegations as he took to the stage for the opening show of his 75th birthday tour.
The Living Doll singer was playing in front of several thousand fans at the Killarney’s INEC before he takes his latest show to the UK.
The 75-year-old spoke briefly to thank fans on the way in to the venue – his first stage appearances since the allegations emerged over a year ago – insisting he had to be “a little precious” about his voice. He ignored questions about police inquiries.
Cliff previously said the claims against him were “absurd and untrue” and he had “never, in my life, assaulted anyone”.
The singer was interviewed under caution but he has not been arrested and no charges have been brought. Fans in Killarney jumped to his defence.
One devotee was Bernie Downes of Oxford, who first saw Cliff perform in 1969, and followed it up by attending more than 200 shows.
“I’m really happy that Cliff is doing another tour to celebrate his 75th birthday and everything else,” she said.
“He’s had a lot of problems over this last year with people he knows, Cilla Black’s death and things in his personal life. It all started with that Jimmy Savile.”
Betty Carroll, from Liverpool, first saw Cliff in the city’s Empire club in 1959, but did not see him again until 1986 when she began travelling worldwide to catch his shows.
“Someone is trying to get him somewhere,” she said about the allegations.
“I don’t believe a word of it. John Lennon once said something horrible about him and I said to him ‘if I was you I’d hit him’ and he said it’s his opinion and everyone’s entitled to that.”
An independent report into South Yorkshire Police’s contact with the press prior to the raid found the force’s agreement with the BBC – made after a reporter went to the force saying he knew they were investigating the veteran entertainer – “interfered“ with Mr Richard’s privacy and “may well have caused unnecessary distress”.
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