Paul Gambaccini: Cliff Richard and I on mission against 'false sex crime accusation crisis'

·Contributor
Paul Gambaccini claims there is a false sex crime accusation crisis (Credit: ITV/Lorraine)
Paul Gambaccini claims there is a false sex crime accusation crisis (Credit: ITV/Lorraine)

Paul Gambaccini has said he and Sir Cliff Richard are fighting for a change in the law, having become “magnets” for people who have been accused of sex abuse.

The 70-year-old radio and TV presenter was investigated by Operation Yewtree in 2013 regarding historic sex abuse claims but was cleared of all sexual wrongdoing a year later.

Gambaccini and Sir Cliff - who was also investigated and cleared by Operation Yewtree - have joined forces with a new pressure group called Fair (Falsely Accused Individuals for Reform), which has launched a petition calling for anonymity for sexual offence suspects.

Read more: Paul Gambaccini: Husband saved my life after Operation Yewtree arrest

Gambaccini told ITV’s Lorraine: “For Cliff and I, our work is not done. We have become magnets for people who are still in the system. We get communications from people going through it now.

“It has turned out there has been a stall on this law reform… Brexit has taken all of the parliamentary oxygen out of the debate chambers.”

He went on: “If we get 100,000 signatures on this petition… parliament has to debate it. So, we’re giving it a little kick.”

Sir Cliff Richard arrives at the Rolls Building in London for the continuing legal action against the BBC over coverage of a police raid at his apartment in Berkshire in August 2014.
Sir Cliff Richard took legal action against the BBC over coverage of a police raid at his apartment in Berkshire in August 2014 (Credit: PA)

The former Radio One DJ sued the Metropolitan Police and agreed an out-of-court settlement with the Crown Prosecution Service last year regarding their investigation of him under Yewtree.

He said: “Nobody knows what it’s like to be us, except us.

“Cliff and I were extreme cases, because both of us had never known our accusers, so we were in a kind of parallel universe. There was no forensic evidence to discuss.

“You’re thinking, ‘When are they going to realise the reason they haven’t found anything is because there’s nothing to find?’

“What makes it worse is that it’s publicised. We want anonymity before charge.

“In my case, all of my relatives around the world were contacted by British media while I was still being interviewed in the police station. Talk about revelation of identity. it’s not just we who suffered, but all of our family members and all of our friends.”

Read more: ‘Disillusioned’ Cliff Richard has moved to US for good, says Gloria Hunniford

Gambaccini added: “There is a sex abuse crisis, there is a false accusation crisis.”

Pop singer Sir Cliff, 78, had his home searched under Operation Yewtree in 2014 but the case was dropped in 2016.

The Bachelor Boy singer successfully sued both South Yorkshire Police and the BBC last year for the distress he suffered from both the investigation and the BBC’s coverage of the search of his home.