Fresh leads for UK cops

Cliff Richard. Photo / AP
Cliff Richard. Photo / AP

Police say several people have "provided information" after the Berkshire apartment of singer Sir Cliff Richard was searched in connection with an alleged historical sex offence.

South Yorkshire Police, which carried out the search of the 3.1million ($6million) penthouse on Thursday, did not say what that information related to, the BBC reported.

The Independent reported detectives were making arrangements to interview Richard, 73, over an alleged sex crime against a boy at a Billy Graham evangelist event at a Sheffield stadium in 1985.

The singer, on holiday at his home in Portugal, has been told through lawyers of the request to meet police.

The pop star described the allegation made against him as "completely false". In a statement on Friday he said he had previously chosen not to acknowledge the allegation, which had been circulating for months online.

He had not been warned of the operation by South Yorkshire Police and his lawyers contacted the police when they learned of the search.

He said he would "co-operate fully" if the police wanted to speak to him.

South Yorkshire Police admitted "working with" the BBC, which broadcast live helicopter footage of detectives arriving at the singer's home with a search warrant.

But police denied alerting the media in advance. "When a media outlet contacted SYP with information about an investigation, we took the decision to work with them in order to protect the integrity of that investigation," a spokesman said.

"Since the search took place, a number of people have contacted the police to provide information and we must acknowledge that the media played a part in that, for which we are grateful."

The Telegraph reported that the alleged victim first spoke to police 14 months ago as a result of publicity generated by a television documentary exposing Jimmy Savile as a paedophile.

The man had initially contacted Mark Williams-Thomas, the journalist behind the Savile expose, who put him in touch with the Metropolitan Police's Operation Yewtree mid last year.

In Portugal, Richard is being supported by friends and relatives, his manager and his live-in companion Father John McElynn.

The Telegraph said it was likely police would delay any interview with Richard until they had assessed and evaluated the phone calls received since the raid.

Several items were taken away from the singer's apartment that would also need to be examined.

- Herald on Sunday

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