Sir Cliff Richard has reportedly been awarded damages of more than £1 million after he was named as a sexual assault suspect.
The 76-year-old singer sued South Yorkshire Police and the BBC over the broadcast of a raid at his Berkshire home in August 2014 and although his case against the BBC is ongoing, he has settled with the police for an amount which is believed to be in excess of £1 million.
His barrister Justin Rushbrooke told the Daily Mirror: ”SYP has now recognised its conduct was unlawful and has agreed to pay the claimant a substantial sum by way of general and aggravated damages.”
The BBC said: ”The police decision to settle the claim… doesn’t change the fundamental principle that journalistic organisations should be able to report on the police and police investigations.”
Cliff saw his life turned upside down when his home was raided by police following the accusation made against him of historic sexual assault.
The investigation continued for 22 months and in June 2016 he was cleared of all allegations made against him and informed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that the case would proceed no further as there was ”insufficient evidence to prosecute”.
However, during his darkest moments, Cliff relied on his Christian faith to give him the strength to fight to clear his name.
He previously said: ”I felt closer to him (God) because I felt like, ‘Who do I turn to?’ There were certain friends, yes, of course, who I could turn to, but not at any time, I could turn to God in the middle of the night.”
Cliff’s Christian beliefs meant he was able to forgive his first accuser, despite the things that had been said about him.
He added: ”In fact, I forgave my first accuser on the second night, I woke up thinking, ‘How do I survive this if I have hate and vengeance?’ I just said to God, ‘Please help me forgive him.’ So I uttered the words ‘I forgive you, whoever you are.’ And you know what? It was a lot easier the next day because I didn’t burn with hate and vengeance. So for me God became a reality much more so than he has done before, I don’t know how people manage with someone like that to lean on through really bad times in your life.”
The star was also staggered by the support he received from his thousands of fans during the investigation.
He said: ”You have to go through it yourself to know what it’s like, it’s a horrifying, traumatically, emotional situation that you find yourself in and you somehow feel like you don’t know how you’re going to get out of it. I think the best decision I made was that I didn’t say anything until it was over … The fans know me pretty well, they have met me over the years and again it’s an interesting thing because for 58 years I have been a singer, I don’t have a background of this kind of activity … The other thing that my lawyers called me and said they had never worked with anybody who has 100 per cent public support. It was greatly comforting to know that people were not believing it. That’s the main thing for me, I knew, he knew and God knew, the whole country knew that this wasn’t possible.”