SIR CLIFF Richard has been busy in the High Court seeking compensation for the seemingly heartless way he was treated by the mainstream media.
As an officially innocent man – he has never been arrested, charged or convicted of any criminal offence – he will have the sympathies of a good proportion of the nation.
Without doubt, his reputation as a squeaky clean singer and Christian have already been damaged by the sexual allegations made against him.
But can we be certain there is no smoke without fire?
Let’s go back to the way Cliff’s friend and fellow celebrity Sir Jimmy Savile was finally exposed as a paedophile.
A remarkable Channel 4 documentary, broadcast after the BBC had rejected the opportunity to break the story, opened the floodgates.
Then and only then, official inquiries were set in motion, resulting in a flood of victims coming forward.
Both the police and media were clearly expecting the same kind of results when news of an investigation into Sir Cliff’s affairs were made so dramatically public.
They had one specific allegation to go on – that the singer assaulted a young man at a Billy Graham rally in Sheffield – and they were fishing for more.
As it turned out, the initial evidence proved to be hopelessly inadequate. The so-called ‘victim’ did not give a plausibly accurate date for the alleged offence and named a venue that didn’t even exist at the time.
I’m in no position to know how many members of the public came forward and the strength of what was said but South Yorkshire Police concluded they had nothing that warranted being taken to court.
Neither the police nor the media would have taken this action unless they were very confident Sir Cliff had a case to answer.
The subsequent unsuccessful investigation could prove more than financially embarrassing for it has adversely affected their public standing as well.
So what was the basis for suspicion about Sir Cliff?
The answer is quite clear. He has been named on several occasions by the media – and even more widely on the Internet – as a regular visitor to the notorious Elm guest house, a VIP paedophile brothel in London in the 1970s.
Guestbook entries have been published with Cliff Richard’s name included as a regular. It was further reported that he was known at the brothel as Kitty.
This has not been made public for a number of years because Sir Cliff issued a super injunction preventing anyone from linking him with Elm guest house.
I was taken aback shortly after the police investigation was announced when someone I respect greatly went public about her personal suspicions.
Then a couple of other colleagues with good contacts told me that he had been regularly warned about his conduct by Metropolitan Police under his real name of Harry Webb.
The deeper you probe the murkier the waters get.
The links with the disgraced Savile are quite strong. Not only were they colleagues and friends, both have the unusual distinction of being knighted in this country and being Knights of Malta. The latter is a Papal decoration from an organisation continually linked with child abuse.
Like Savile, Cliff Richard has always sidestepped questions about his sexuality, adamantly refusing to confirm that he is gay.
He was also a friend of the notorious Kray twins and has second hand connections both with Jill Dando, the Crimewatch presenter who was murdered after the programme began investigating a VIP paedophile ring, and the Madeleine McCann story as he has an apartment near the complex in Portugal from where she was supposedly abducted.
Interestingly Cliff subsequently emigrated to Barbados where he would not necessarily have to answer to British justice.
Suspicions and circumstantial evidence do not a court case make.
But I’ve got a very strong feeling that the full truth about Sir Cliff Richard is still not in the public domain.