Sir Cliff Richard has reacted to reports that he now faces a CPS review of the decision in the historic child abuse allegations made against him. The 75-year-old was accused of groping a teenage boy at a Billy Graham rally in Sheffield in 1985.
The star had been publicly named as part of a probe, but was not arrested or charged. The claims against him were dropped after a 22-month investigation, after prosecutors ruled there was "insufficient evidence" to charge the singer. Just two months later, however, one of his accusers has challenged the decision to drop the case.
A spokesman for the 75-year-old said Sir Cliff remains confident that the CPS will reach the same conclusion. "Sir Cliff reaffirms his innocence and has every confidence the CPS will once again come to the right conclusion," said the spokesman. "He trusts that they will also do so as soon as possible. Just three days ago Sir Cliff was informed a complainant has requested a review of the CPS's decision.
"When a person is told that their complaint is not going to be the subject of any further action they are also told that they have the right to ask for a review. We understand that it is not unusual for this to happen."
A spokesman for the CPS has confirmed they have received an application under the victims' right to review scheme over the decision made in relation to the star, adding: "It is ongoing."
Following the latest setback for Sir Cliff, friends have rallied round him, describing the review as "absolutely ridiculous." "He won't let this break him," a close friend of the star told Mirror Online. "He's spoken of his innocence, he knows in his heart of hearts that he has been honest and told the truth. He waited two years and that did almost break him, but once the police said there was no case it was a complete relief and a release for him.
"It was total relief and he won't be broken by this. But it's absolutely ridiculous that he has to go through it. It's a waste of police time. It's the plight of fame; people can come up and say anything. It's awful that he even has to think about it."
Another friend added: "Cliff deserves to be left alone. If it is going to be investigated it has to be done quickly. It is unreasonable to expect someone with his profile and age to have to wait for justice to be done when he has already been cleared once."
The news came as Sir Cliff said last week that he was returning to normality after the ordeal of the past two years. The singer addressed a group of fans in Portugal who came to see him unveil a new red wine and earlier performed some of his hit songs on board a cruise ship.
Sir Cliff has consistently denied all allegations against him. After the case was dropped, he said: "The allegations are completely false. I have always maintained my innocence, co-operated with the investigation, and cannot understand why it took so long to get to this point."
He said he planned to sue the BBC and South Yorkshire Police for £1m ($1.29m) after the police raid on his Berkshire home was broadcast live on television on August 2014.
The veteran singer is expected to learn whether that decision is upheld in the coming weeks.