The historic investigation into Sir Cliff Richard over sex offences has “increased significantly in size” and involves “more than one allegation”. This comes from the police investigating Sir Cliff and the expansion of the investigations appears to be to deal with the issue more quickly.
The expansion of the investigation meant that there is now no date for when the inquiry could potentially end, although that date had always been, at best, foggy. The South Yorkshire police division are hoping to conduct this investigation as quickly as possible, at least according to one of their representatives, thus the expansion.
Sir Cliff, 74, is on the record as saying that the allegations against him were completely “absurd and untrue”. He would continue in his statement, made in August, saying, “The police have not disclosed details to me.” In response to the charges themselves Sir Cliff said, “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.”
Sir Cliff was interviewed about the allegations but was not arrested nor was there evidence which would have allowed him to be arrested and taken for questioning by police. It is understood however that the original allegation relates to an alleged assault at an event featuring US preacher Billy Graham at Bramall Lane in Sheffield in 1985.
In a letter dated 10th February to Labour MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, the Chief Constable in charge of this inquiry, David Crompton, said his force were in regular contact with Sir Cliff’s lawyers. This arrangement is said to involve a “verbal update about once a fortnight”, the Chief Constable would go on to say in his letter, “This is an investigation which has increased significantly in size since its inception. Sir Cliff Richard’s lawyers are aware that there is more than one allegation,” Later in that same letter he would state, “It would be premature and potentially misleading to predict a likely date when it will be concluded, however, we are progressing as swiftly as possible.”
The fact that this letter was released is interesting considering that an independent report concluded that police should not have released “highly confidential” details to the BBC about the planned search of Sir Cliff Richard’s home. This is counteracted however by a BBC spokesman saying that the Home Affairs committee had “already endorsed the way the BBC handled this story.”
This expansion of the investigation, whilst inconvenient for Sir Cliff, will mean an end to this inquest sooner. If there is anything to be found it will be found quicker by the proper authorities and can be dealt with properly if there is nothing to be found then the police can apologise to Sir Cliff and the world will return to normal for him. Either way expanding the investigation is a good thing for either Sir Cliff’s alleged victims or for Sir Cliff himself.