Sir Cliff Richard backs campaign for anonymity for sex crime suspects after South Yorkshire Police raid

Sir Cliff Richard
Sir Cliff Richard
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Pop star Sir Cliff Richard is backing a pressure group campaigning for anonymity for sex crime suspects after he was falsely accused of an historical sexual assault.

In 2014 his Berkshire home was raided by officers from South Yorkshire Police, which was covered live by the BBC and included the deployment of a TV helicopter, and led to him being publicly named.

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South Yorkshire Police told the BBC of the planned raid on Sir Cliff’s home in advance.

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It formed part of an investigation into an alleged offence in Sheffield in the 1980s but no arrests were made in relation to the accusation against Sir Cliff and he did not face charges.

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Sir Cliff is now backing Falsely Accused Individuals for Reform (Fair), a new pressure group that is pushing for anonymity for those accused of sexual offences until they are charged.

"Being falsely accused myself and having that exposed in the media was the worst thing that has happened to me in my entire life," Sir Cliff said.

"Even though untrue, the stigma is almost impossible to eradicate.

"Hence the importance of Fair's campaign to change the law to provide for anonymity before charge in sexual allegations and hence my continued work with Fair in the future.

"Had this proposed change in the law been enacted when the police decided to raid my apartment following the allegations of a fantasist, the BBC would not have been able to film this event, name me, even though the South Yorkshire Police had decided not to, and so plunge my life and those close to me into fear and misery."

He previously said that the trauma of the coverage left him emotionally drained.

The singer has since sued the BBC for invasion of privacy and was awarded £210,000 in damages. He also received £850,000 towards his legal costs.

He received £400,000 from South Yorkshire Police in an out of court settlement.