Thursday 23 October 2014

Cliff Richard treated appallingly, says Majella

Linda McGrory

Published 19/08/2014 | 02:30

Cliff Richard
Cliff Richard
Majella O'Donnell

Majella O'Donnell has become involved in a social media spat after criticising the manner of the raid on the home of her friend Cliff Richard.

Majella (54) said she believed the singer had been "treated appallingly" by police after his home in Berkshire, UK, was searched last week and the operation was captured live by the BBC.

The five-hour search was part of an investigation into an alleged historic child abuse incident going back to 1985.

Majella and her husband, singer Daniel O'Donnell (52), have been friends with Richard for many years. The pop star (73) collaborated in a country-music duet with Majella on her 2010 album By Request.

At the weekend, the mother-of-two criticised the manner in which the raid at Richard's home was carried out while he was abroad last Thursday.

"The way the police have treated Cliff Richard is completely unacceptable," Majella told her 1,620 followers, posting a link to an opinion piece in a UK newspaper carrying the same headline.

The column by Geoffrey Robertson in The Independent noted that the publicity surrounding the search "blasted (Richard's) reputation around the world without giving him the first and most basic right to refute the allegation".

Her comments were praised by several of her followers, who said they agreed with her.

But one male follower cautioned: "Hope you never have cause to regret that tweet."

Majella replied: "Why would I ever regret it? Cliff has been treated appallingly. What about his rights? There's nothing to regret."

Majella met the star as recently as last June when he was in Ireland for concerts.

She posted a snap of them together, tweeting: "Great to spend time with Cliff today before he leaves for his Cork concert. Wonderful man."

Meanwhile, South Yorkshire police have complained to the BBC about its reporting of the search, accusing it of breaching its own guidelines.

The BBC said that it followed normal journalistic practice and agreed not to publish a story that might "jeopardise a police inquiry".

Irish Independent

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