Sir Cliff Richard tells High Court he has been forever tainted by

first_imgSir Cliff Richard on the first day of the caseCredit:Yui Mok /PA He revealed that the legal action had cost him more than £3.4 million, “not counting the month of March.”“I had no idea that heading to my 80th birthday I would have such ginormous bills come through,” he told the court.”It’s a huge amount of money.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. He said he had found it “really painful” to read that the BBC had then criticised him for spending too much money on lawyers.“This was such a vile, serious allegation, I took it seriously,” he said.”I paid serious money for the most serious people I could find.”Sir Cliff sobbed as he said he believed South Yorkshire Police were “just doing their job” while “others felt they were above the law, above Leveson and certainly above the Magna Carta.” He added: “The BBC, doing what they did that day, did not just name me here… but everywhere I have ever been.“I felt my name was smeared. Of course the police did not do this. The BBC did.“I do blame the BBC. The police have already apologised to me, they have been big enough and gentlemanly enough.”Sir Cliff said he waited 22 months, between August 2014 and June 2016, before being told that prosecutors would take no further action.  He went to his hotel room and put on the TV news.“I could see the police going through the drawers in one of the rooms in my apartment,” he said.“I felt confused, disturbed and very upset.“It was like I was watching burglars in my apartment, going through my personal belongings.” I thought I was going crazy because I often found I was talking to myselfSir Cliff Richard Cliff Richard and Gloria Hunniford arrive at the High Court Cliff Richardcenter_img Sir Cliff Richard arrives at the High Court with his friend Gloria Hunniford Credit:Peter Summers/Reuters “It felt like torture, sustained over a period of almost two years,” he said.“I thought I was going crazy because I often found I was talking to myself.”At one point he was so tormented he thought he was going to have a heart attack or a stroke.He said that since then, his annual official calendar had been “thrown back” at him and he had felt unable to attend Wimbledon for the first time in 20 years.If he wins the case, he will seek £278,261 for legal costs, £108,500 for PR fees and an undisclosed sum for the “substantial non-recoverable advance” agreed for his autobiography, My Life, My Way, which was due to have been published in 2015 but was shelved.He said that “of all the people that might have done this” to him, he would “never have dreamed that it would be the BBC.”“It is an institution, respected around the world. I suppose it is for this reason that I thought the BBC would absolutely play by the rules.”He said that the BBC’s refusal to apologise since had been hurtful and it’s decision to submit its coverage of the police search for a Scoop of the Year award had left him “flabbergasted”. Sir Cliff told Mr Justice Mann, sitting at the High Court: “It changed everything for me, everything. It felt like my life had stopped.“I found it really disturbing. It was obvious for moments, if not days, I was not seen as a human being.”Everything I had lived for seemed to come to nothing.”Sir Cliff, dressed in a navy suit, spent around 90 minutes on the stand, visibly nervous and often, struggling to hear the questions asked of him by Gavin Millar, the BBC’s barrister, at one point admitting: “Rock and roll has not been good for my ears”.He said he preferred to be addressed as Sir Cliff, rather than Mr Richard, occasionally raising a laugh with the odd joke.When he had finished his evidence, he stepped off the stand straight into the arms of Gloria Hunniford, his close friend, and broke down in tears. Sir Cliff Richard broke down in court yesterday as he said he blamed the BBC for the way his name had been “forever tainted”.The 77-year-old singer was giving evidence in his legal action against the corporation for its coverage of the police search at his home following an alleged sex offence involving a minor.He said the BBC’s decision to identify him that day in August 2014 had turned his life upside down, portraying him as a “serious criminal”.“I know I didn’t do it, he (the accuser) knows I didn’t do it, God knows I didn’t do it but unfortunately for me it’s lasted a lot longer than I could have thought,” he said.”It felt as though everything I had worked for during my life – trying to live as honestly and honourably as I could – was being torn apart.”I felt forever tainted. I still do.” Sir Cliff was on holiday with friends in Portugal when he was informed the police had a warrant to search his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire.It left him “a bit shaken” as he had no idea why they were there.He then received a call telling him that a criminal allegation had been made against him dating back to 1985 involving a male who was under 16 and was later “horrified” to be told by a friend in the UK that the BBC was broadcasting footage of the police search. Sir Cliff said that as a consequence of the BBC broadcast he had felt unable to return to his apartment as it felt “contaminated,” describing the experience as worse than being burgled.The singer said he had also been “very disturbed” to see what was being written about him online.“We are totally fallible. We are fodder,” he said.The hearing, which began on Thursday, is due to last ten days.last_img

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