A High Court writ, seen by The Sun, details extraordinary claims that the police and BBC colluded over the raiding of Cliff Richard's home.
At the time Sir Cliff, 76, was being investigated as part of Operation Yewtree, but the Crown Prosecution Service later decided to drop the case due to insufficient evidence.
The 26-page writ reveals that South Yorkshire Police took the decision to raid Sir Cliff's Berkshire mansion on 6th August 2014. The following day, 7th August, the police successfully applied for a warrant to search the property. On 13th August the police contacted Dan Johnson, a BBC Crime Correspondent, and told him that the warrant would be executed at 10 am the following morning, 14th August. It is claimed that South Yorkshire Police sent the BBC the property's full address and an aerial photograph.
Sure enough at 10 am on 14th August 2014 a BBC News camera crew was entrenched outside the Sunningdale property. A BBC News helicopter was buzzing overhead, as the developing story was broadcast live on the BBC News channel.
Officers from South Yorkshire Police were accompanied by their local Thames Valley Police colleagues, as they searched the £3.5m property. A South Yorkshire Police press officer, Lesley Card, is accused of giving BBC man Johnson a running commentary of the raid by text message.
Sir Cliff's lawyers have not spared any punches in their attack on South Yorkshire Police and the BBC. According to them, South Yorkshire Police "knowingly facilitated" a story that was "highly intrusive" and "highly damaging" to Sir Cliff.
The BBC is accused of breaching its own editorial guidelines by broadcasting the "humiliating" footage. The writ adds that that BBC acted with "flagrant disregard" for Sir Cliff's privacy and caused him "enormous damage (including reputational damage), distress, humiliation, embarrassment, anxiety and upset, entitling him to very substantial damages".
Both South Yorkshire Police and the BBC are expected to contest the claims.
A BBC spokesperson said: "We’ve said previously we are very sorry that Sir Cliff has suffered distress but we have a duty to report on matters of public interest and we stand by our journalism."
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