Sunday 23 October 2016

Cliff Richard Interviewed by Police Over Sexual Assault Claim

Aditi Khanna/London

India-born veteran British singer Sir Cliff Richard has been "interviewed under caution" in connection with an alleged historical sexual offence but was not arrested or charged, British police said today.

73-year-old Richard, one of Britain's most successful entertainers, met police officers by appointment after police searched his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, on 14 August as part of their investigation involving a boy under 16 dating back to the 1980s.

The allegation against Richard relates to an assault claim at an event featuring US preacher Billy Graham at the Bramall Lane stadium in Sheffield in 1985, the BBC reported.

The veteran pop star, well-known globally since the 1950s through hits such as "Living Doll" and "Devil Woman", denies the alleged offence, saying the claim of an assault at a religious event in Sheffield in 1985 is "completely false".

South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "The man was interviewed under caution but was not arrested. He entered South Yorkshire Police premises by arrangement."

A spokesman for Richard said: "Today Sir Cliff Richard voluntarily met with and was interviewed by members of South Yorkshire Police. He was not arrested or charged.

"He co-operated fully with officers and answered the questions put to him.

"Other than restating that this allegation is completely false and that he will continue to co-operate fully with the police, it would not be appropriate for Sir Cliff to say anything further at this time."

The investigation is not connected to Operation Yewtree, the probe launched by Scotland Yard into abuse by the late BBC television and radio presenter Jimmy Savile and a number of other ageing British celebrities, media reports said.

The actor-performer, born Harry Rodger Webb during the British Raj in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, has sold 21.5 million singles -– more than any other male British artist -– and is the only performer to have had at least one UK top five album in each of the last seven decades.

Considered a life-long bachelor, Richard has represented the UK in the Eurovision song contest twice and in 2013 released the 100th album of his career.

He was knighted in 1995 and performed at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace in 2012.

His worldwide hits include songs like 'Congratulations' and 'Summer Holiday'.

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