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Former detective in Sir Cliff Richard case 'felt pressured' to reveal details to BBC journalist, court hears

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 5 days ago By Telegraph Reporters

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Related: Sir Cliff Richard thanks supporters after leaving court (provided by ITN News)

A former detective has told the High Court he felt "forced" to reveal the police raid on Sir Cliff Richard's home to a BBC journalist.

Retired detective superintendent Matthew Fenwick said he believed reporter Dan Johnson would run a story about South Yorkshire Police's investigation into the singer unless he was told about the search.

Discussing a meeting in July 2014 with Mr Johnson and the force's head of corporate communications, Carrie Goodwin, Mr Fenwick said: "I believed the BBC was in a position to publish a story and I didn't want them to publish a story at that stage.

Cliff Richard wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Telegraph

"(Mr Johnson) said he could and he would, and we came to an arrangement that he would not publish it then but that we would let him know when we were going to take further action.

"I felt that we didn't have many options - there was no option, other than to co-operate with him."

Sir Cliff is suing the BBC for "substantial damages" over its coverage of the raid at his penthouse apartment in Sunningdale, Berkshire, in August 2014 following an allegation of sexual assault.

The 77-year-old singer claims the report was a "very serious invasion" of his privacy and has had a "prolonged impact" on him.

BBC bosses dispute his claims.

Sir Cliff Richard (centre) 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 2014 © press association Sir Cliff Richard (centre) 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 2014

Sir Cliff broke down in tears giving evidence on Friday, as he told the judge his name had been "smeared" across the world.

He also said he was so upset by the coverage he thought he was "going to have a heart attack or a stroke" and felt like his reputation had been "forever tainted".

In a Facebook message to fans on Sunday, Sir Cliff thanked them for their support at this "harrowing time".

BBC lawyers previously told the court the raid was a "matter of legitimate public interest" and its coverage was accurate and in good faith.

Sir Cliff Richard (right) leaves the Rolls Building in London, where a High Court judge has been hearing evidence in a legal battle between Sir Cliff and the BBC © press association Sir Cliff Richard (right) leaves the Rolls Building in London, where a High Court judge has been hearing evidence in a legal battle between Sir Cliff and the BBC

Metropolitan Police officers working on the Operation Yewtree investigation into historic sex offences passed the allegation to South Yorkshire Police in July 2014.

A man claimed he was sexually assaulted as a teenager by the singer at a rally led by Evangelist Billy Graham at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane in the 1980s.

Sir Cliff denied the allegation and in June 2016 prosecutors announced that he would face no charges.

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

The trial, before Mr Justice Mann, is due to last 10 days.

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