Tuesday 21 November 2017

More people contact police after Cliff Richard's home is searched in abuse probe

Cliff Richard. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Cliff Richard. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
A locksmith enters the Charters Estate in Sunningdale, Berkshire, where Cliff Richard has an apartment. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Cliff Richard. The pop legend has dismissed a sex crime claim involving a young boy in the 1980s as "completely false"

Gordon Rayner

Police investigating a child sex assault allegation made against Cliff Richard have said "a number of people" have come forward with information as a result of publicity surrounding a search of his home.

South Yorkshire Police would not say whether the callers included more alleged victims, or whether they were potential witnesses.

The force also admitted it had "worked with" the BBC in advance of the raid on Richard's flat in Berkshire, resulting in the BBC having a news crew at the property when police arrived and a helicopter hovering overhead.

The force suggested the decision was vindicated by saying it was "grateful" for the media's role in publicising the raid and generating the fresh calls to its investigation team.

Richard (73 ) remains at his summer home in Portugal, where he is yet to contact the police. South Yorkshire Police said its officers were still "seeking to speak to" him.

However, it seems likely that the force will delay any interview with the singer until it has had a chance to evaluate and assess the phone calls it has had since carrying out the raid. Several items were taken away from Richard's £2.5m (€3.1m)flat in Sunningdale which will also need to be examined.

The police statement said: "When a media outlet contacted SYP with information about an investigation, we took the decision to work with them in order to protect the integrity of that investigation.

"Since the search took place a number of people have contacted the police to provide information and we must acknowledge that the media played a part in that, for which we are grateful."

The star was angry that the BBC were camped outside his flat when officers arrived to execute a search warrant.

In a statement in which he categorically denied the child abuse allegation, Richards said the police had raided his home "without notice, except, it would appear, to the press".

Jonathan Munro, the BBC's head of news gathering, said he would not reveal the source of the tip-off, but said he "can confirm it was not South Yorks Police".

Meanwhile, Thames Valley Police, which assisted South Yorkshire with the search because the singer's home is in their force area, denied it was the source of the leak.

The force said in a statement: "Thames Valley Police did not speak to any media outlets prior to the warrant being executed in Sunningdale, Berkshire, yesterday. This is a South Yorkshire Police investigation and local officers from Thames Valley Police assisted South Yorkshire officers in their search of the property."

A BBC producer is understood to have heard that the raid was going to happen and phoned South Yorkshire Police, who confirmed the information was correct. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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