Footage of police raid on home left Sir Cliff Richard feeling 'tainted'

Cliff Richard arrives at the Rolls Building in London to hear the ruling of the dispute that he has with the BBC. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Cliff Richard arrives at the Rolls Building in London to hear the ruling of the dispute that he has with the BBC. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

SIR CLIFF Richard broke down during the trial after telling Mr Justice Mann that BBC coverage of a police raid on his home left him feeling "forever tainted".

The singer said seeing coverage of the search at his apartment was like "watching burglars" going through his belongings.

He felt that his name had been "smeared" all over the world, told how his health had suffered, and said he had never lived in the apartment again because it had become "contaminated".

Sir Cliff said he wanted a public declaration that what the BBC did was "wrong".

He told Mr Justice Mann that his business had "stopped" and he felt "like my life had stopped".

The singer said journalists involved had "felt they were above the law".

He told the trial how he was on holiday in Portugal when he heard about the raid.

Sir Cliff said he watched footage on a hotel television.

The singer said he was contacted by staff from the estate management company which looks after his apartment - and said he received a phone call from his friend, television presenter Gloria Hunniford.

He said he told staff to let police in or they would knock the door down.

Sir Cliff said he blamed the BBC for revealing that he was being investigated by police.

"I wouldn't have told anybody but my closest friends that I was under investigation," he said.

"That was taken out of my hands once it goes on television and everybody knows."

He said the BBC's "presentation" had "changed everything".

"My business stopped, it felt like my life had stopped - my business has been my life since 1958," he said.

"Everywhere I have ever been, I felt my name was smeared."

The singer told the judge: "The police didn't do that, the BBC did."

He told how he had had been in Portugal at the time of the search.

"I felt confused, disturbed and very upset," he said.

"It was like I was watching burglars in my apartment, going through my personal belongings."

He added: "It was shocking and upsetting."

Sir Cliff said he was conscious that people around the world might think he was a "serious criminal".

"It felt as though everything I had worked for during my life - trying to live as honestly and honourably as I could - was being torn apart," he said.

"I felt forever tainted. I still do."

Sir Cliff said he waited 22 months, between August 2014 and June 2016, before finding out that prosecutors were not "going to be taking further action".

He said his health suffered, adding: "During the day there was an ever-present knot in my stomach.

"I'd wake up in the middle of the night, going over things in my head again and again."

He added: "At one point, feeling particularly sleep deprived and tormented, I actually thought I was going to have a heart attack or stroke."

Sir Cliff said he had felt unable to return to his Sunningdale apartment.

"I never went back except to pack up my belongings," he said.

"In my mind it had become contaminated. I didn't feel comfortable there any longer. I have in fact been burgled before, and this for me was a worse experience."

He added: "I fear that to some extent my standing and my self-esteem have been damaged forever."

The singer said a public declaration of wrongdoing by the BBC would give him some solace and go some way to ensuring "that what happened to me never happens to anyone else again".