Sir Cliff Richard has been told that he will not face any charges over allegations of historical child abuse. The Crown Prosecution Service announced on Thursday that it has "carefully reviewed" the case and decided that there was "insufficient evidence to prosecute".
In a statement, Sir Cliff said he was "obviously thrilled that the vile accusation and the resulting investigation have finally been brought to a close".
Sir Cliff Richard will not face any charges over allegations of historical child abuse
"I have always maintained my innocence, cooperated fully with the investigation, and cannot understand why it has taken so long to get to this point," the 75-year-old added.
He went on to criticise the "high-profile fumbling of my case from day one".
"Other than in exceptional circumstances, people who are facing allegations should never be named publicly until charged," he said. "I was named before I was even interviewed and for me that was like being hung out like 'live bait'.
The star has criticised the "high-profile fumbling" of his case
"It is obvious that such strategies simply increase the risk of attracting spurious claims which not only tie up police resources and waste public funds, but they forever tarnish the reputations of innocent people.
"There have been numerous occasions in recent years where this has occurred, and I feel very strongly that no innocent person should be treated in this way. I know the truth and in some people's eyes the CPS announcement today doesn’t go far enough because it doesn't expressly state that I am innocent, which of course I am. There lies the problem…
"My reputation will not be fully vindicated because the CPS policy is to only say something general about there being 'insufficient' evidence. How can there be evidence for something that never took place!"
The 22-month police investigation into Sir Cliff was mired in controversy from the start, when South Yorkshire Police engaged in a deal with the BBC in which the broadcaster filmed a search on the star's Berkshire home in the summer of 2014, and broadcast it live. In a statement, South Yorkshire Police later apologised "wholeheartedly for the additional anxiety caused" to Sir Cliff by the force's "initial handling of the media interest" in its investigation.