Sir Cliff Richard will not face prosecution over claims he sexually abused four boys more than 30 years ago.
The iconic British pop singer has been cleared of the historical child sex offence allegations, after police concluded that there was insufficient evidence to press charges.
“The CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] has carefully reviewed evidence relating to claims of non-recent sexual offences dating between 1958 and 1983 made by four men,” said Martin Goldman, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside. “We have decided that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute.”
The 75-year-old singer was never formally arrested over the alleged offences, although he did meet with police on two separate occasions after the investigation was launched in 2014.
“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,” he said in a statement (via NME).
“My reputation will not be fully vindicated because the CPS’ policy is to only say something general about there being ‘insufficient’ evidence. Nevertheless, I am obviously thrilled that the vile accusations and the resulting investigation have finally been brought to a close.”
As The Guardian reports, the 22-month police investigation into the British icon was mired in controversy from the start, after South Yorkshire police struck a deal with the BBC effectively allowing the broadcaster to film a search of Richard’s Berkshire home and broadcast it live.
“I was named before I was even interviewed and for me that was like being hung out like ‘live bait’,” Richard said.
“It is obvious that such strategies simply increase the risk of attracting spurious claims, which not only tie up police resources and waste public funds, but they for ever tarnish the reputations of innocent people.
“There have been numerous occasions in recent years where this has occurred, and I feel very strongly that no innocent person should be treated in this way.”
South Yorkshire police have since apologised “wholeheartedly for the additional anxiety caused” to the singer by the force’s “initial handling of the media interest” in its investigation.
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