Sir Cliff Richard has spoken openly about how he thought he was going to “die of a heart attack” after facing allegations of sexually assaulting children.
Police searched the 81-year-old singer’s home in 2014 as part of an investigation into an allegation of sexual assault.
Richard, who denied the claims and was never arrested or charged, said a false accusation could “completely destroy you” as he urged people to support the campaign to change the law so suspects have anonymity unless charged .
Speaking to the House of Lords on Wednesday 8 June, he branded the internet “disaster territory for most people right now” and claimed his name will be on the dark web “forever” “as the man who accused of the treacherous act”.
The singer also pointed out that there were times when he would wake up with a racing heart and fear he was “dying of a heart attack.”
“I can’t express it strongly enough to know what it’s like to be an innocent man and also to know that the person who accused you will remain anonymous forever.
“I’m through this terrible time, but will I ever get over it? The answer is no.”
A man who accused Richard of sexual abuse was arrested in 2016 on conspiracy to blackmail the singer, but his claims were investigated by police.
according to a people on Sunday Report from that time after the alleged victim, whose name is not given, saw police search Richard’s house and threatened to spread “fake stories” unless given a sum of money.
This week Richard and DJ Paul Gambaccini also revived a campaign calling for the law to protect suspects’ anonymity unless charged.
Both men, both of whom have been acquitted of sex crimes allegations, joined forces with the advocacy group Falsely Accused Individuals for Reform (Fair) to campaign for changes to the law.
Three years ago, the pair said they wanted to “restore balance in the legal system” when they filed a petition to ensure that sex offenders remain anonymous pending charges, saying it was necessary to “define the reputation.” to protect all innocent suspects, known or not, from the enduring stigma of a false sexual allegation.”
The group said the petition received 27,000 signatures before it “had to be abandoned” when general elections were called.
Now they are urging the government to include an amendment in the next criminal justice bill because they believe the “Privacy Act does not provide adequate protection”.
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you can contact your nearest Rape Crisis organization for specialized, independent and confidential support. Visit their website for more information here.