Sir Cliff Richard ‘broken’ after BBC covered raid on home, says Gloria Hunniford
The presenter’s concerns for the singer were outlined in a witness statement.
Gloria Hunniford has told a High Court judge how Sir Cliff Richard seemed “broken” following BBC coverage of a police raid on his home.
The television and radio presenter told Mr Justice Mann that she “encountered” a “real emotional and mental change” in the singer following a broadcast of police searching his apartment in Sunningdale, Berkshire, nearly four years ago.
More recently 77-year-old Sir Cliff seemed more like his “old self” but “still couldn’t stop talking about how violated and betrayed he felt”, she said.
Her concerns were outlined in a witness statement given to the judge during a High Court trial in London.
Sir Cliff has taken legal action over BBC coverage of the police search, which was staged after a sex assault allegation, in August 2014 and wants damages at “top end” of the scale.
He says the coverage was a “very serious invasion” of his privacy.
The BBC disputes his claims.
Bosses say coverage of the search was accurate and in good faith.
Mr Justice Mann began overseeing the trial on Thursday.
The presenter said she had watched the BBC coverage of the search.
“I could not believe what I was seeing,” she said.
“I was immediately very concerned for (Sir Cliff). He (Sir Cliff) is a gentle and kind soul and I was extremely worried about how he would be reacting.”
She said her fears were well-founded.
“He seemed utterly distraught that the search and allegations against him had been broadcast so widely around the world, and about what everyone must be thinking about him,” she said.
“I was exceptionally worried for (Sir Cliff) because I had never heard him like this ever before.
“In my experience, he has always been the most positive and upbeat of people, but speaking to him he seemed like a different person; broken and extremely confused.
“Unfortunate, this impression persisted over the two years that followed. When I met with (him) during this period, I encountered a real emotional and mental change in him, even a physical one.”
She said she had seen Sir Cliff in recent months.
“He seems more his old self and is looking a lot better,” she said.
“However, he cannot stop talking about how violated and betrayed he feels about the BBC decision to broadcast the police search of his apartment and create the media storm that ensued.”