Cliff Richard criticises handling of sex abuse allegations

Cliff Richard criticises handling of sex abuse allegations

Pop singer Sir Cliff Richard says he feels like police hung him out like live bait as they publicly investigated him over sex abuse allegations.

The singer faced allegations from four men between 1958 and 1983. On Thursday (local time) he spoke of his relief at his decision.

"I have always maintained my innocence, cooperated fully with the investigation, and cannot understand why it has taken so long to get to this point," Sir Cliff said in a statement.

"Nevertheless, I am obviously thrilled that the vile accusations and the resulting investigation have finally been brought to a close."

Television presenter Gloria Hunniford has seen firsthand the toll it has taken on her friend.

The raid on Sir Cliff's penthouse was filmed by the BBC following a police tip-off, and later shown on other channels -- before the star was even told he was under investigation.

"Other than in exceptional cases, people who are facing allegations should never be named publicly until charged," Sir Cliff says.

"I was named before I was even interviewed and for me that was like being hung out like 'live bait'."

Today South Yorkshire police apologised for the anxiety caused by the raid, but said the allegations were complex and took considerable time to investigate.

Despite the departure of suspended Chief Constable David Compton, the force faces more criticism from another man wrongly accused of historic sex crimes.

It took prosecutors just five weeks to decide there wasn't sufficient evidence to bring charges.

There's now likely to be a much longer inquest into what many see as a police witch-hunt.

ITV News