Cliff is now said to be ‘praying for his accuser’
By Dan Wooding, Founder of the ASSIST News Service
SOUTH YORKSHIRE, UK (ANS – September 20, 2015) — One of the three police investigations into allegations of historic sex abuse by Christian singer, Sir Cliff Richard, has been dropped, according to reports.
One media story states that an unnamed close friend of the singer has said the inquiry has “foundered” because detectives have been unable to find evidence to substantiate the claims, the Sunday Times reported.
A British newspaper, The Guardian (www.theguardian.com), added that Richard was understood to have provided police with evidence that he was never alone with two men who allege that he assaulted them in separate incidents in the 1980s.
“Cliff has given police evidence that he was never on his own on the days when the alleged attacks took place,” the friend was quoted as saying.
South Yorkshire police said the force “won’t be providing a running commentary on the investigation. The inquiry continues and inquiries are ongoing.”
The Guardian stated that there was no comment from the singer, who has not been arrested or charged, and who is preparing for a UK concert tour to mark his 75th birthday, performing in Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Nottingham and culminating in a five-night run at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Sir Cliff, who performed a musical tribute at the Liverpool funeral of his close friend singer Cilla Black last month, has denied the allegations, describing them as “absurd and untrue.”
Richard was in Portugal, where he has a home, in August of last year when the BBC broadcast live footage of a police raid on his £2.5m ($3.8m) home in Sunningdale, Berkshire.
The raid happened without his knowledge and South Yorkshire police were later criticized when an inquiry found they had caused unnecessary distress to the singer, who “should not have been informed of the allegations through the media”. Richard later sold the property.
Now a well-known broadcaster and music writer, Paul Gambaccini, has come forward and says that Sir Cliff is praying to God for his accusers.
In a story written by Caroline Frost for the UK edition of The Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.co.uk), said that Gambaccini, describes the veteran pop singer, as “a wonderful human being” and speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, added, “He’s keeping his wits, and he knows of the love and support he’s getting from the British public. We are in contact, and I’m glad to be able to be of support to him.”
Gambaccini, who knows the pain of being falsely accused, was arrested in October 2013 and held on bail for a year before being cleared of sex abuse charges. He says that remains convinced of Cliff’s innocence, telling the national radio station, “If Cliff Richard is ever convicted of any criminal offence, I will eat mine, Paddy Ashdown and Alastair Campbell’s hats.”
The music writer and broadcaster called Cliff Richard a generous and religious man, and revealed a conversation where he told the singer they could not insult their accusers because they didn’t know their state of mind.
According to Paul, Cliff replied, “I have been praying to God to forgive my accuser.”
Paul Gambaccini has written a book about his experience, which he calls a true story of a terrible episode in the history of British justice.
The original allegation against Sir Cliff is understood to relate to an incident that is said to have occurred at a Christian rally in Sheffield organized by the American evangelist, Billy Graham in June 1985.
Last year, the alleged victim, who was under 16 at the time of the incident, came forward to police and made a complaint.
When he originally learned of this allegation, Sir Cliff Richard issued a statement saying, “I have no idea where these absurd and untrue allegations come from. The police have not disclosed details to me.
“I have never, in my life, assaulted anyone and I remain confident that the truth will prevail. I have cooperated fully with the police, and will, of course, continue to do so.
“Beyond stating that the allegations are completely false, it would not be appropriate for me to say anything further until the investigation has concluded, which I hope will be very soon. In the meantime, I would, again, like to thank everyone for supporting me through this unbelievably difficult period.”
On a personal note, I have known Cliff Richard for over 40 years and have always found him to be a truthful and honorable person.
We even attended for a while, the same Baptist Church in Surrey.
Shortly after he became a Christian, Cliff, along with BBC producer, David Winter and actor, Nigel Goodwin, started the Arts Centre Group (ACG) in London, which was a sanctuary for believers from the entertainment and media industries. Many of them had endured criticism from fellow Christians for staying in their world, instead of leaving.
I was the first head of the ACG Journalists Group, where many would gather to fellowship, pray and study and Bible. I am still a member of the ACG.
Later, when I was a senior reporter with The Sunday People, a British tabloid, I broke the story of Cliff’s trip to Bangladesh with a group called Tear (the Evangelical Alliance Relief) Fund after which he told me for our front page story, that he wanted to leave the pop world to become a missionary. He said that he had been so moved by the poverty he had witnessed, that he didn’t feel able to continue with his music career.
After it was published, many people contacted Cliff to say that he could do more good by staying a pop star, and using his position and money, to help Christian causes, and so he did just that and founded The Cliff Richard Foundation.
The last time I saw Cliff Richard was some years ago at a Billy Graham Crusade in Essen, Germany, where I was working as part of Mr. Graham’s media team. I had already moved to the United States by then and was able to share with Cliff over coffee, about the start of ASSIST. Then, shortly afterwards, Cliff sang a series of Gospel songs before Billy Graham preached.
The fact that Sir Cliff is praying for his accusers, doesn’t surprise me one bit. For that is the kind of person he is.
Photo captions: 1) Sir Cliff Richard singing at Cilia Black’s funeral in Liverpool. 2) Billy Graham with Cliff Richard. 3) British singer Cliff Richard poses for photographers at a photo call promotion celebrating his 50th anniversary in the music industry in London, Friday, Dec. 5, 2008. (Photo/MJ Kim). 4) Poster for Two a Penny, a Billy Graham film starring Cliff Richard. 5) Cliff Richard on a Tear Fund trip to Brazail. 6) Dan Wooding
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 74, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He is also the author of some 45 books.
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