Sir Cliff Richard 'felt violated' over BBC footage of police search

Sir Cliff Richard felt "violated and betrayed" by the BBC's decision to broadcast footage of a police search of his apartment, television presenter Gloria Hunniford has told a High Court judge.

She said the singer had seemed "utterly distraught".

The presenter, a friend of Sir Cliff, outlined her concerns in a written witness statement given during a trial being overseen by Mr Justice Mann at the High Court in London.

Sir Cliff has told the judge how BBC coverage of a police raid on his home left him feeling "forever tainted".

He said seeing coverage of the search at his apartment in Sunningdale, Berkshire, nearly four years ago was like "watching burglars" going through his belongings.

Sir Cliff has taken legal action over BBC coverage of the police search, which was staged after a sex assault allegation, 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.

Ms Hunniford said she had watched the BBC report of the police search in August 2014.

"I could not believe what I was seeing," she said.

"He (Sir Cliff) is a gentle and kind soul and I was extremely worried about how he would be reacting."

She added: "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."

Ms Hunniford 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."

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