Sir Cliff Richard: “I am forever tainted” by false claims
Sir Cliff Richard has told MPs and peers he will be “forever tainted” by the coverage that followed claims of sexual abuse against him.
The singer is suing the BBC and South Yorkshire Police after a raid on his house was shown on television in 2014.
“Had I not been “named”…I would still have been able to look people in the eye”, he told the parliamentarians.
Sir Cliff, 75, is backing a campaign to change the law so sex crime suspects are not named unless they are charged.
He said: “The TV circus took away from me all hope of ever being what I had been before, a confident and respected artist, and an ambassador for Great Britain.
“Had I not been “named” worldwide I feel I would still have been able to look people in the eye, and not feel afraid that they might be thinking that there is “no smoke without fire”.
“Lurid and intrusive”
“Instead, I fear I will forever be tainted by the lurid and intrusive coverage I received.
“I have had to bring civil proceedings to obtain redress for these appalling invasions of my privacy by the police and the BBC. But that can never undo all the damage I have suffered.
“It would have been so much better never to have been in this position at all.”
Sir Cliff was the subject of a South Yorkshire Police investigation, centred on accusations dating between 1958 and 1983 made by four men.
He always denied the allegations, and was never arrested.
Earlier this year, prosecutors said no charges would be brought. Last month a review confirmed the decision.
Campaigners for abuse victims say naming suspects encourages people to come forward.