11 May 2016

Cliff Richard sex crime claims weighed up

8:14 am on 11 May 2016

British prosecutors are considering whether singer Sir Cliff Richard should face charges over alleged historical sex crimes, after being handed a file of evidence by police.

Cliff Richard performs during the 'Still Reelin' And A-Rockin' tour at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, May 2014

Cliff Richard on stage in Amsterdam in 2014. Prosecutors are considering a file of evidence on allegations dating back to the 19980s. Photo: AFP

Sir Cliff, 75, has met voluntarily with officers from the South Yorkshire police on two occasions as part of an inquiry launched in 2014 into allegations against him that date back to the 1980s and involve an under-age boy.

The singer has never been arrested and has always said the allegations against him are false.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it had received a "full file of evidence" from the police.

"We will now carefully consider its contents ... in order to establish whether there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, and whether it is in the public interest to do so," it added in a statement.

Richard was first interviewed by detectives after police raided his home in August last year when he was on holiday. The search was filmed by the BBC after the broadcaster was given advance warning.

That raid led to criticism from lawmakers who described the co-operation between the police and the BBC as "inept" and causing "irreparable damage" to the singer's reputation.

Sir Cliff, born Harry Webb in 1940 and who was called Britain's Elvis Presley early in his career, has had 14 No. 1 singles in Britain.

He is the only singer to have topped the UK singles chart in five consecutive decades, from the 1950s to the 1990s, and was knighted by the Queen in 1995.

With his backing group The Shadows, Richard was one of Britain's most successful performers in the pre-Beatles era of the late 1950s and early 1960s. His early hits include Summer Holiday and Living Doll.

- Reuters

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs