British police drop Cliff Richard case

Exactly a month since he was awarded the Golden Key to the City of Albufeira, iconic British singer Sir Cliff Richard has heard that police investigations into historic allegations that he sexually abused young men are foundering.

A report in today’s Sunday Times claims “one of the three investigations into alleged sex abuse by Sir Cliff Richard has been dropped” while the millionaire star is “understood to have provided police with evidence that he was never alone with two men who allege he attacked them in separate incidents in the 1980s”.

As the ST explains, “the inquiry is said to have foundered because detectives have been unable to substantiate the claims”.

“South Yorkshire Police and a spokesman for Richard declined to comment”, the ST adds, “but the prospect of an end to the 13-month inquiry will be a boost to Richard as he prepares for a UK concert tour to mark his 75th birthday”.

The much-loved star, who is estimated to have sold 250 million records during his incredible 60-year career, was described as devastated last year when police raided his Berkshire home on live TV as he was on holiday in his longtime home-from-home in the Algarve.

Sir Cliff had been given no prior warning of the investigation – operating under the umbrella of Operation Yewtree, the inquiry into allegations of historical sex abuse involving showbiz personalities – and the incident led to a public outcry over the way celebrities were being ‘named and shamed’ long before any claims against them had been proven.

Certainly Albufeira’s most internationally famous home-owner, Sir Cliff had been due to receive the Freedom of the City last year, but pulled out of the ceremony due to the sudden press furore saying he thought his presence might have overshadowed the event.

As it was this year, the award giving went ahead calmly with local mayor Carlos Sousa e Silva saying that Sir Cliff’s “strong contribution” to the town had “played a huge role in establishing it as an international destination”.

The Sunday Times story has now been picked up by the rest of British mainstream media, and is being repeated on news websites around the world.

Seven other celebrities – including comedians Freddie Starr, Jim Davidson and Jimmy Tarbuck, DJ Mike Osman and broadcaster Paul Gambuccini were also accused of offences under Operation Yewtree only to see themselves subsequently exonerated.

A friend talking to the Sunday Times has suggested Sir Cliff’s upcoming tour – due to begin in Birmingham on September 29 and end with five nights at the Royal Albert Hall from October 12 – was a sign that Richard believed he too “would soon be cleared”.

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