Cliff Richard has said he is “thrilled” he will not face further action over “vile accusations” of historical sexual abuse.
He spoke out after the Crown Prosecution Service said there was “insufficient evidence to prosecute” and South Yorkshire Police said it “apologised wholeheartedly” for its “initial handling of the media interest” in its investigation.
In a statement yesterday, the singer, 75, said: “I am obviously thrilled that the vile accusations and the resulting investigation have finally been brought to a close. After almost two years under police investigation I learnt today that they have finally closed their enquiries.
“I have always maintained my innocence, co-operated fully with the investigation, and cannot understand why it has taken so long to get to this point. Nevertheless, I am obviously thrilled that the vile accusations and the resulting investigation have finally been brought to a close.
“Ever since the highly-publicised and BBC-filmed raid on my home I have chosen not to speak publicly. Even though I was under pressure to ‘speak out’, other than to state my innocence, which was easy for me to do as I have never molested anyone in my life, I chose to remain silent.”
The initial raid by South Yorkshire Police detectives on Richard’s Berkshire home in August 2014 was broadcast on live television following a controversial agreement between the BBC and the force.
A scathing independent report later criticised the agreement between police and the BBC, and said it “certainly interfered with his [Richard’s] privacy and may well have caused unnecessary distress”.
Chief constable David Crompton, who was later suspended, said an investigation into the matter failed to identify the source of the leak to the BBC.
As well as criticism for the investigation, the force has also been accused of corruption and incompetence over its reaction to the Hillsborough disaster, Rotherham sex abuse case, and Orgreave miners’ strike.
Richard, who was never charged, has consistently denied any wrongdoing but has not spoken publicly about the case until now.
“This was despite the widely-shared sense of injustice resulting from the high-profile fumbling of my case from day one,” his statem ent continued. “Other than in exceptional cases, people who are facing allegations should never be named publicly until charged.”
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