Cliff Richards says he's too afraid to go near children because false child molestation charges from 2014 still haunt him
Sir Cliff was never arrested or officially charged and the investigation was later dropped in 2016, but the shadow from the accusation in 2014 continued to remain in his life
Legendary musician Cliff Richard recently revealed in a TV interview about how he's struggled with the false allegations of child molestation against him. The singer is now wary to be photographed near children in the fear that he might be labeled a pedophile. The Sun reports that Sir Cliff was accused of molesting a boy of 15 at a 1985 rally in Sheffield held by US evangelist Billy Graham. The alleged victim complained to South Yorkshire Police, leading to the televised raid on Sir Cliff’s £2.5million home in Sunningdale, Berks, in 2014.
While he wasn't at home when the raid took place, he watched the event unfold on TV while he was on holiday in Portugal. During the filming of ITV's 'Sir Cliff Richard, 60 Years in Public and Private', he opened up about his ordeal, “They have given me something I can never ever be free of. Ever!” He also said, “I will never ever forget what I saw on television and never forget what it’s all about.”
The hateful slurs against Cliff that followed the allegations left him scarred for a lifetime and at one point he even feared for his life. He was shocked that anyone could think he was capable of molesting someone.
“I do not have any hint of that kind of activity in my background — none at all. If I was a pedophile there’s no way I could hide it for 60 years. It’s impossible.” His friend Gloria Hunniford who was at his side when he won his privacy case against the BBC earlier this year, reveals he told her: “I will never put my arms around young people again when I’m having photographs taken.”
Sir Cliff was never arrested or officially charged and the investigation was later dropped in 2016, but its shadow continued to remain in his life. The false claims have led him to be careful where he is seen on trips to his beloved Wimbledon, he will also no longer walk through the tunnel from Centre Court to Court One to watch matches. “Since what happened to me, I haven’t gone down there. Because that tunnel is right by the ball boys’ dressing room and I can’t bring myself to be anywhere like that on my own.”
His health also took a toll when he was falsely accused of molestation. “I thought I was going to die, supposing I had a heart attack. I had shingles and I didn’t sleep more than an average of two hours a night.”
He's guarded his private life fiercely since the incident, “I quite like the word enigma. I don’t think people should know everything about you. Sometimes a journalist who you’ve never met will ask you the most impertinent questions. I’ve often said: ‘You’re kidding aren’t you? My best friends don’t ask me that. I’m not going to ask you a question like that. It doesn’t matter what it is, whether it’s about sexuality or whatever. If I feel it’s too personal then I say so.”