I imagine there are few people in this country of ours who do not feel sorry for Sir Cliff Richard. Ever since the police raided his home, in the glare of maximum publicity, in August 2014, he has been living under a dark shadow, doubtless uneasy in mind, angry, frustrated. Although he was never arrested, he was under police investigation, with its concomitant daily anxiety and endured all the misery of the media circus, for nearly two years before being informed that no charges were to be brought against him.
The whole experience is tortuous. While on bail, not only do you have to consider the worst of all possible outcomes, you also have to deal with the poison which is spat in your direction on a regular basis from the online untutored mob, many of whom have never met you and for whom any allegation means certain guilt. Being accused of child abuse is a particularly challenging experience and elicits the most appalling lies and insults via social media, just when you are feeling at your lowest.
No one accused of a crime, particularly alleged child abuse, should have his or her name made public until that person is at least charged with an offence, although there are those who feel someone should keep anonymity until a guilty verdict is announced in a court. I feel this particularly applies to famous people like Sir Cliff, because, with the present preposterous system of handing out vast quantities of cash to any malicious opportunist (and there many) who claim to have been abused, these celebrities are like sitting ducks. If we are to pay out compensation money, it should go straight to the medical professional who has been called in to help the victim. This would ensure that only the genuinely abused come forward.
Once you have been the innocent victim of a false allegation, it is like being branded on your forehead for the rest of your life. The reputation of one of this country's finest entertainers has been tarnished forever and it is a modern day disgrace. I wish Sir Cliff every success with his ongoing civil action against those authorities and institutions that have made his terrible ordeal so much worse.