Sir Cliff Richard breaks down in tears over BBC's filmed South Yorkshire Police raid on home

Sir Cliff Richard.
Sir Cliff Richard.
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Sir Cliff Richard broke down in tears after telling a High Court judge that BBC coverage of a South Yorkshire Police raid on his home left him feeling "forever tainted."

Sir Cliff is suing the corporation for a breach of privacy over the way a police raid of his home was televised live and he was named as a suspect in August 2014.

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An investigation was launched after a man contacted the Metropolitan Police earlier that year to claim he had been sexually assaulted by Sir Cliff at a Christian concert in Sheffield when he was a boy. The singer has always denied wrongdoing and was never charged with any offence.

The 77-year-old told Mr Justice Mann at London's High Court on Friday how he had been in Portugal at the time of the search at his apartment in Berkshire and watched it unfold on TV.

He said: "It was like I was watching burglars in my apartment, going through my personal belongings.

"Everywhere I have ever been, I felt my name was smeared.

"I felt forever tainted. I still do."

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Sir Cliff said he waited 22 months, between August 2014 and June 2016, before finding out that prosecutors were not "going to be taking further action."

He said his health suffered, adding: "During the day there was an ever present knot in my stomach."

The singer said a public declaration of wrongdoing by the BBC would give him some solace and go some way to ensuring "that what happened to me never happens to anyone else again."

Lawyers have told Mr Justice Mann how in late 2013, a man made an allegation to the Metropolitan Police, saying he had been sexually assaulted by Sir Cliff, during an event featuring evangelist Billy Graham at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane football stadium, when a child in 1985.

Metropolitan Police officers passed the allegation to South Yorkshire Police in July 2014.

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The BBC learned of the allegation and struck a deal with South Yorkshire Police over when the story would run in return for details of when and where the raid would take place.

The force gave the BBC a running commentary on the day of the raid so that the police operation could be filmed, with the use of a helicopter hovering above Sir Cliff's apartment.

It was revealed during the hearing that South Yorkshire Police paid an out-of-court settlement of £400, 000 to Sir Cliff and in a statement later admitted 'mistakes were made'.

Sir Cliff denied the sex assault allegation and prosecutors said he would face no charges.

The BBC disputes his breach of privacy claims and bosses say coverage of the search was accurate and in good faith.

A spokesman has said the corporation reported Sir Cliff's "full denial of the allegations at every stage."

The trial is due to last 10 days.