Freddie Starr 'very relieved' not to face charges for sex crimes
Comedian Freddie Starr has expressed his relief as prosecutors confirmed he will not face charges after spending 18 months on bail for sex crime allegations.
The 71-year-old, from Warwickshire, was first arrested in November 2012 by detectives from sex crime inquiry Operation Yewtree, and was rebailed several times.
Today the Crown Prosecution Service finally announced that there was not enough evidence to charge him over 13 alleged victims, and it was not in the public interest to prosecute over one other.
Frail-looking Starr appeared outside his home this afternoon alongside his lawyer Dean Dunham.
The performer said he was "very relieved", adding: "I'm not feeling well, really."
Asked if he had a message for his fans, he said: "Thank you."
Mr Dunham has accused Scotland Yard of a "flagrant breach" of Starr's human rights due to the delays in dealing with his case.
Last month he said that prosecutors had already made a decision over whether to bring charges, but delayed making it public due to the trial of disgraced PR guru Max Clifford.
Mr Dunham said: "I would like to see anyone else go through what Freddie has gone through."
He said "there was simply never any evidence in this matter that was anywhere near sufficient" to keep his client on bail for so long.
Mr Dunham went on: "At the moment we need to concentrate on getting Freddie back to his health.
"We will be looking at this further. Things have gone wrong here. I have lived this nearly every day with Freddie and you can see the toll it has taken on him.
"He's a man of good character, remains a man of good character, and I would ask the public now to stand by this man.
"No doubt about it, his innocence has been proven."
Baljit Ubhey, from the CPS, said prosecutors will write to all the alleged victims to fully explain the decision.
He said: "Having carefully reviewed this case, we have decided that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute Freddie Starr in relation to allegations of sexual offences made by 13 individuals.
"Each allegation was considered on its own merits and we have concluded that the available evidence does not offer a realistic prospect of conviction for any of the alleged offences.
"In relation to one further complainant, we have decided that although there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction, according to the code for Crown prosecutors, a prosecution would not be in the public interest.
"It must be remembered that a determination by a prosecutor that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute under the code does not mean that the suspect is guilty of the offence.
"Prosecutors have to consider whether there is enough evidence to bring a case to trial but deciding whether an offence has been committed is entirely a matter for courts and juries and every suspect is innocent until proven guilty.
"All of these decisions have been taken in accordance with the code for Crown prosecutors and our guidance for prosecutors on cases of sexual offences. The complainants have been informed and we will be writing to them to more fully explain our decision."