De­tec­tive ‘forced’ to re­veal Sir Cliff raid

Ex-of­fi­cer tells court he had no choice

Yorkshire Post - - FRONT PAGE - STEVE TEALE NEWS CORRESPONDENT ■ Email: yp.news­desk@ypn.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @york­shire­post

COURT: Re­tired de­tec­tive su­per­in­ten­dent Matthew Fen­wick has told the High Court he felt “forced” to re­veal the po­lice raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s home to a BBC jour­nal­ist who was ready to run a story.

A FOR­MER de­tec­tive has told the High Court he felt “forced” to re­veal the po­lice raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s home to a BBC jour­nal­ist.

Re­tired de­tec­tive su­per­in­ten­dent Matthew Fen­wick said he be­lieved re­porter Dan John­son would run a story about South York­shire Po­lice’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the singer un­less he was told about the search.

Dis­cussing a meet­ing in July 2014 with Mr John­son and the force’s head of cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions Car­rie Goodwin, Mr Fen­wick said: “I be­lieved the BBC was in a po­si­tion to pub­lish a story and I didn’t want them to pub­lish a story at that stage.

“(Mr John­son) said he could and he would, and we came to an ar­range­ment that he would not pub­lish it then but that we would let him know when we were go­ing to take fur­ther ac­tion.

“I felt that we didn’t have many op­tions – there was no op­tion, other than to co-op­er­ate with him.”

Sir Cliff is su­ing the BBC for “sub­stan­tial dam­ages” over its cov­er­age of the raid at his pent­house apart­ment in Sun­ning­dale, Berk­shire, in Au­gust 2014 fol­low­ing an al­le­ga­tion of sex­ual as­sault.

The 77-year-old singer claims the report was a “very se­ri­ous in­va­sion” of his pri­vacy and has had a “pro­longed im­pact” on him.

BBC bosses dis­pute his claims. The singer thanked a group of fans gath­ered out­side the court as he left af­ter the third day of the hear­ing yes­ter­day. He ap­peared to pose for pho­to­graphs and one fan shouted: “The whole world loves you Cliff,” as he got into a taxi. An­other sup­porter said: “Thumbs up,” to which the singer replied: “Not yet”.

Sir Cliff broke down in tears giv­ing ev­i­dence on Fri­day as he told the judge his name had been “smeared” across the world.

He also said he was so up­set by the cov­er­age he thought he was “go­ing to have a heart at­tack or a stroke” and felt like his rep­u­ta­tion had been “for­ever tainted”.

In a Face­book mes­sage to fans on Sun­day, Sir Cliff thanked them for their sup­port at this “har­row­ing time”.

He said giv­ing ev­i­dence was a “very nerve-rack­ing” ex­pe­ri­ence and that he broke down while dis­cussing the raid, but that he got through it. The singer added: “I just want to say to all of you, that you have lifted my spir­its no end and I will face the days ahead with a fresh pur­pose.

“Thank you. God bless. Love... Cliff.”

BBC lawyers pre­vi­ously told the court the raid was a “mat­ter of le­git­i­mate pub­lic in­ter­est” and its cov­er­age was ac­cu­rate and in good faith. Metropoli­tan Po­lice of­fi­cers work­ing on the Oper­a­tion Yewtree in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his­toric sex of­fences passed the al­le­ga­tion to South York­shire Po­lice in July 2014.

A man claimed he was sex­u­ally as­saulted as a teenager by the singer at a rally led by Evan­ge­list Billy Gra­ham at Sh­effield United’s Bra­mall Lane in the 1980s. Sir Cliff de­nied the al­le­ga­tion and in June 2016 prose­cu­tors an­nounced that he would face no charges.

I be­lieved the BBC was in a po­si­tion to pub­lish a story. Re­tired de­tec­tive su­per­in­ten­dent Matthew Fen­wick.

PIC­TURE: KIRSTY O’CON­NOR/PA WIRE.

SIR CLIFF RICHARD: The star ar­rives at the High Court yes­ter­day.

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