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Cliff Richard sues BBC, police over sex abuse raid footage

2016-07-11 07:45

London - Veteran British pop star Cliff Richard confirmed on Sunday he will sue the BBC and the police after a raid on his home was broadcast live on TV.

Richard, 75, who was Britain's first home-grown pop star and considered the UK's answer to Elvis Presley, was told last month that he would face no charges over allegations of sexual abuse dating back decades, following an investigation that took two years, due to lack of evidence.

The South Yorkshire Police force was severely criticised by lawmakers over its handling of the case after it struck a deal with the BBC to broadcast the police raid on Richard's home.

The Mail newspaper on Sunday said Richard's case could be worth more than £1m.

"My life was effectively turned upside down and my reputation, worldwide, was unnecessarily damaged. I would not want the same to happen to others whether in the public eye or not," Richard said in a statement.

"I firmly believe that privacy should be respected and that police guidelines are there to be followed.

"That means that, save in exceptional circumstances, people should never be named unless and until they are charged. As everybody has accepted, there were no such 'exceptional circumstances' in my case."

After the BBC got wind of the investigation, South Yorkshire Police cut a deal with the broadcaster in a bid to delay them breaking the story.

The BBC was tipped off about the raid on Richard's home and was outside in advance to film detectives sweeping in, broadcasting the search live from a helicopter.

The BBC has said it is "very sorry" for causing the singer distress but stood by its decision to report the investigation. South Yorkshire Police also apologised to the star.

Richard, who burst onto the pop scene in the late 1950s, is the third biggest-selling artist in British singles chart history, behind The Beatles and Presley.

His hits include The Young Ones, Living Doll, Summer Holiday, Congratulations, Mistletoe And Wine and The Millennium Prayer.

There has been a wave of accusations of historical sex abuse against prominent figures in Britain since 2012, when the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile was revealed to be a serial paedophile.

Read more on:    lawsuits  |  celebrities  |  music

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