Sir Cliff Richard has said he has been left afraid of being seen too close to children, after false accusations of historic child sex abuse were levelled against him.
The singer spoke of his torment in a new TV documentary, revealing the devastating effect of the BBC’s coverage of a police raid on his home following the allegations, for which he was cleared of.
“I’m careful if people ask me to have pictures taken with their children,” he said on ‘Sir Cliff Richard: 60 Years in Public And Private’.
His close friend Gloria Hunniford, who appears alongside him in the documentary, also said: “The saddest thing I heard Cliff say during all of this is, I will never ever put my arms around young people again when I’m having photographs taken.’”
Tennis fan Sir Cliff has been a regular at Wimbledon over the years, but his ordeal has also changed his experience at the annual competition too.
He said: “From Centre Court I walked through a tunnel and came up by seats on Court One, but since what happened to me happened I haven’t gone down there because that tunnel is right by the ball boys’ dressing room.
“I cannot bring myself to be anywhere like that on my own.”
Sir Cliff added: “Not only was I not charged, I was never arrested. I do not have any hint of that kind of activity in my background — none at all.
“If I was paedophile there’s no way I could hide it 60 years. It’s impossible.”
Earlier this year, Sir Cliff won a High Court privacy case against the BBC over their coverage of the raid on his home, which came after allegations of unfounded child sexual assault were made against him in 2014.
The BBC was ordered to pay Sir Cliff £210,000 in damages and later agreed to cover his £850,000 legal bill, after a High Court judge ruled that the BBC infringed Sir Cliff’s privacy rights “without justification”.
‘Sir Cliff Richard: 60 Years in Public And Private’ airs on Monday 10 December at 9pm on ITV.