Yorkshire Post

Sir Cliff dis­misses historic sex crime claims

Pent­house res­i­dence searched by po­lice over al­le­ga­tion in­volv­ing boy

- BEN BAR­NETT NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT Email: ben.bar­nett@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @benbthewri­ter Cliff Richard · United Kingdom · Portugal · Scotland · Metropolitan Police Service · Jimmy Savile · South Yorkshire · River Thames · India · Lakhnau · Elizabeth II · Queen · Buckingham Palace · Buckingham Palace · Diana, Princess of Wales · Princess of Wales · Calcutta · Elvis Presley · Europe · European Union · Big Time Rush · United States of America · Comic Relief · AFC Wimbledon · Sheffield · Berkshire · Billy Graham · Sunningdale · Lucknow · The Shadows · The Shadows · Peter Pan · Sue Barker · Alan Tarney

POP LEG­END Sir Cliff Richard has dis­missed a sex crime claim in­volv­ing a young boy in Sh­effield in the 1980s as “com­pletely false” as South York­shire Po­lice raided his pent­house apart­ment.

A five-hour search at his Berk­shire home was car­ried out yes­ter­day af­ter­noon by po­lice as they ex­e­cuted a search war­rant and it led to a num­ber of items be­ing re­moved for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The search prompted the singer, who was not present at the apart­ment, to make a state­ment that he had seen al­le­ga­tions cir­cu­lat­ing on­line for months but had cho­sen not to “dig­nify” them with a re­sponse.

Sir Cliff, 73, is not cur­rently in the UK and po­lice were keen to point out that he had not been ar­rested.

The singer pledged to co-op­er­ate with the in­quiry, which con­cerns an al­leged as­sault claimed to have taken place at an ap­pear­ance by Amer­i­can evan­ge­list Billy Gra­ham in Sh­effield in 1985.

It is un­der­stood that lawyers for the singer, who is be­lieved to be in Por­tu­gal, have been in con­tact with South York­shire Po­lice, who are car­ry­ing out the in­quiry.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is not con­nected to Scot­land Yard’s high­pro­file sex crime probe Op­er­a­tion Yewtree, which was launched in the wake of the Jimmy Sav­ile abuse scandal.

In his state­ment, Sir Cliff said: “The al­le­ga­tions are com­pletely false. Up un­til now I have cho­sen not to dig­nify the false al­le­ga­tions with a re­sponse, as it would just give them more oxy­gen.

“How­ever, the po­lice at­tended my apart­ment in Berk­shire to­day with­out no­tice, ex­cept, it would d ap­pear, to the Press.

“I am not presently in the UK K but it goes with­out say­ing that I will co-op­er­ate fully should the po­lice wish to speak to me.

“Be­yond stat­ing that to­day’s s al­le­ga­tion is com­pletely false it t would not be ap­pro­pri­ate to say y any­thing fur­ther un­til the po­lice e in­ves­ti­ga­tion has con­cluded.”

Speak­ing at a po­lice sta­tion n in South York­shire, De­tec­tive e Su­per­in­ten­dent Matt Fen­wick k stressed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was in n its “re­ally early stages”.

He said: “South York­shire Po­lice have gained en­try into a prop­erty in the Sun­ning­dale area of Berk­shire.

“Of­fi­cers are cur­rently search­ing that prop­erty.

“A search war­rant has been granted af­ter po­lice re­ceived an al­le­ga­tion of a sex­ual na­ture dat- i ing back b k to the h 1980s. This hi ini volved a young boy un­der the age of 16 years.

“No one has been ar­rested at this stage and the owner of the prop­erty is not present.”

A to­tal of eight of­fi­cers from South York­shire and Thames Val­ley po­lice took part in the search of f the h per­former’s flat in a high­lypri­vate gated devel­op­ment.

They be­gan work at about 10.30am and five un­marked po­lice cars were seen leav­ing the site at around 3.30pm.

Born Harry Webb in Lucknow, In­dia, in 1940, Sir Cliff has be­come one of the most en­dur­ing stars of his time, with hits in­clud­ing Devil Woman and Liv­ing Doll.

He was knighted in 1995, the first rock star to be so hon­oured and per­formed at the Queen’s Di­a­mond Ju­bilee con­cert at Buck­ing­ham Palace in 2012.

SIR CLIFF RICHARD has been one of the mu­sic world’s most en­dur­ing stars, cre­at­ing chart-top­ping sin­gles across five decades.

Even 56 years af­ter mak­ing his chart de­but with Move It, with his then band the Drifters – later to be­come the Shad­ows – he con­tin­ues to record and per­form.

The per­pet­u­ally youth­ful-look­ing star, still re­ferred to as the “Peter Pan of Pop” at the age of 73, has out­lasted thou­sands of artists who have come and gone with his whole­some ar­ray of more than 130 pop hits in­clud­ing Summer Hol­i­day, Wired For Sound and The Young Ones.

Sir Cliff’s pop­u­lar­ity was undimmed af­ter his em­brace of Chris­tian­ity, set­ting him a world away from the wild be­hav­iour of some rock stars. It ap­peared to have no vis­i­ble ef­fect on his colos­sal sales which have to­talled more than 250 mil­lion records.

He could even claim to be a favourite of roy­alty, num­ber­ing among only a few celebri­ties who were in­vited to a tenth an­niver­sary memo­rial ser­vice in Au­gust 2007 to mark the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Born Harry Webb in Lucknow, In­dia, he moved to Cal­cutta and then when the coun­try gained in­de­pen­dence in 1947, he headed to Bri­tain.

Af­ter land­ing a record­ing deal in 1958, he was mar­keted as the Bri­tish an­swer to Elvis Pres­ley, with a sim­i­larly sheened quiff. But the early rock and roll of his ini­tial hits was toned down by the re­lease of his first num­ber one sin­gle, Liv­ing Doll.

He also em­barked on a film ca­reer in­clud­ing The Young Ones and Summer Hol­i­day which made him the UK’s big­gest box of­fice at­trac­tion in 1962 and 1963.

Even as Beatle­ma­nia took hold, Sir Cliff was a fa­mil­iar fea­ture of the charts, although the gaps be­tween his num­ber ones in­creased.

His con­ver­sion to Chris­tian­ity took place in 1964 and he con­sid­ered quit­ting the mu­sic busi­ness – par­tic­u­larly as a man who at one stage had been deemed “too sexy for TV” – but friends ad­vised that he had no need to aban­don his ca­reer.

He con­tin­ued to record with

Af­ter land­ing a record­ing deal in 1958, he was mar­keted as the Bri­tish an­swer to Elvis Pres­ley.

the Shad­ows but also per­formed songs with a more re­li­gious feel and ap­peared at Billy Gra­ham cru­sades.

In 1968 he be­came the UK’s Euro­vi­sion Song Con­test en­trant, sing­ing Con­grat­u­la­tions. He missed out on a win by a sin­gle point, but pro­vided a hit across Europe and he re­turned to the com­pe­ti­tion again five years later with Power to All Our Friends which fin­ished third.

He went on to have his own TV show, It’s Cliff, but also found a new lease of life as a more cred­i­ble rock artist in 1976 with a land­mark al­bum, I’m Nearly Fa­mous, and the sin­gle Devil Woman, which be­came his first proper US hit.

Although he en­joyed a close friend­ship with the ten­nis player turned broad­caster Sue Barker, Sir Cliff never mar­ried.

By 1979 he had teamed up with pro­ducer Alan Tar­ney for his hit We Don’t Talk Any­more, the big­gest-sell­ing sin­gle of his ca­reer. He be­came a fig­ure of fun in an­ar­chic BBC2 com­edy The Young Ones – named af­ter one of his hits – dur­ing the 1980s, but he gra­ciously ap­peared with the stars of the show on a Comic Relief ver­sion of Liv­ing Doll.

Sir Cliff, who re­ceived his knight­hood in 1995, de­voted a num­ber of years to get­ting his stage mu­si­cal Heath­cliff off the ground, in which he starred and which pro­vided a chart hit with Mis­un­der­stood Man.

And the star, who has homes in Berk­shire, Por­tu­gal and the Caribbean, led a cel­e­brated sin­ga­long at a rain-sod­den Wim­ble­don cen­tre court the fol­low­ing year, lead­ing the crowd with a per­for­mance which in­cluded Summer Hol­i­day and Bach­e­lor Boy.

 ??  ?? SEX SEX AL­LE­GA­TIONS: Sir Cliff de­nies al­le­ga­tions over an al­leged sex­ual as­sau as­sault at an ap­pear­ance in Sh­effield by evan­ge­list Billy Gra­ham, in­set.
SEX SEX AL­LE­GA­TIONS: Sir Cliff de­nies al­le­ga­tions over an al­leged sex­ual as­sau as­sault at an ap­pear­ance in Sh­effield by evan­ge­list Billy Gra­ham, in­set.
 ??  ?? A LIFE IN THE SPOT­LIGHT: Clock­wise from top, Sir Cliff Richard at the Heart­beat Ap­peal char­ity din­ner in Leeds in 1999; out­side Buck­ing­ham Palace with his knight­hood in 1995; and belt­ing out a num­ber in 1968.
A LIFE IN THE SPOT­LIGHT: Clock­wise from top, Sir Cliff Richard at the Heart­beat Ap­peal char­ity din­ner in Leeds in 1999; out­side Buck­ing­ham Palace with his knight­hood in 1995; and belt­ing out a num­ber in 1968.
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