Women in Music 2016

Cliff Richard 'Thrilled' That He Won't Face Charges in Abuse Case

Neil Lupin/Redferns
 Sir Cliff Richard performs at Royal Albert Hall on Oct. 18, 2015 in London.

British pop veteran Cliff Richard said he was "thrilled" that authorities have decided not to pursue charges against him over allegations that he sexually abused four boys more than three decades ago. "After almost two years under police investigation I learnt today that they have finally closed their enquiries," Richard wrote on Thursday (June 16). "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! Nevertheless, I am obviously thrilled that the vile accusations and the resulting investigation have finally been brought to a close."

The Guardian reported that a month after receiving an evidence file from police on the "Travelin' Light" singer, lawyers for the Crown Prosecution Service said there was insufficient evidence to pursue charges against the 75-year-old British star. The 22-month-long investigation stemmed from a controversial investigation in which the South Yorkshire Police made a deal with broadcaster BBC to film and live broadcast a search of Richard's home in the summer 2014.

"Ever since the highly-publicised and BBC filmed raid on my home I have chosen not to speak publicly," Richard said. "Even though I was under pressure to 'speak out', other than to state my innocence, which was easy for me to do as I have never molested anyone in my life, I chose to remain silent. This was despite the widely shared sense of injustice resulting from the high profile fumbling of my case from day one." 

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Richard noted that other than "exceptional cases," people who are facing allegations should never be named publicly until charges are brought. "I was named before I was even interviewed and for me that was like being hung out like 'live bait,'" he wrote. "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 forever tarnish the reputations of innocent people."

The singer denied the allegations from the beginning and the chief crown prosecutor for Yorkshire, Martin Goldman, said, "the CPS has carefully reviewed evidence relating to claims of non-recent sexual offences dating between 1958 and 1983 made by four men. We have decided that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute," according to the Guardian. In addition, South Yorkshire police apologized "wholeheartedly for the additional anxiety caused" to Richard for the way the force initially handled media interest in the investigation.

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No arrest was ever made in the case and Richard voluntarily sat for police interviews in 2014 and 2015, but even with the decision not to pursue the case, he said he was not satisfied with the CPS' actions. "I know the truth and in some peoples' eyes the CPS' announcement today doesn't go far enough because it doesn't expressly state that I am innocent; which of course I am," he said. "There lies the problem. My reputation will not be fully vindicated because the CPS' policy is to only say something general about there being 'insufficient' evidence. How can there be evidence for something that never took place!"