Sir Cliff Richard has opened up about the 2014 sexual assault allegations as he tries to sell his 11-bedroom Portuguese vineyard
Sir Cliff Richard says he doesn’t believe he’ll ‘ever recover personally’ from being falsely accused of sexual assault.
The Mistletoe And Wine singer, 76, has opened up about the 2014 sexual assault allegations as he tries to sell his 11-bedroom Portuguese vineyard.
Sir Cliff says that the Algarve home helped him ‘survive great despair’ after his Sunningdale, Berkshire, was raided by police in August 2014 following sexual assault accusations dating between 1958 and 1983.
‘It was here that I had the most terrible time of my life, but it was also here that I had the most beautiful time when it all ended,’ he wrote the Sunday Times. ‘This place was such a haven for me. It didn’t change the despair, but I’d rather have been despairing here than anywhere else.’
He sold his house in Berkshire, after the raid and is now looking to downsize from the vast Portuguese estate, which he’s owned for 23 years.
The 300-year-old Quinta do Moinho estate hit the market on Sunday for €6.95million (£6.4million) as Sir Cliff looks for a more manageable property.
Sir Cliff was at the Portuguese home when he first discovered he was being accused of sexual assault – something he learned through watching the news.
‘It was a disastrous time emotionally, so traumatic I don’t think i slept more than two hours at a time for the next two years,’ Sir Cliff wrote.
Sir Cliff (pictured in 2009) says that the Algarve home (pictured) helped him ‘survive great despair’ after his Sunningdale, Berkshire, was raided by police in August 2014
The 300-year-old Quinta do Moinho estate hit the market on Sunday for €6.95million (£6.4million) as Sir Cliff looks for a more manageable property
But he was also at the home nearly two years later, when he was told by phone that the Crown Prosecution Service was throwing out the case against him in June 2016.
‘It hurt me so much, I don’t think i can ever recover personally,’ he wrote. ‘I’m living my life again, and it’s all in my past, but when I think of what I tried to build up in my career, I know it’s been damaged in places I won’t ever go back to.
‘Some people will always believe there’s no smoke without fire, to which I can only reply with something someone wrote to me: ‘Haven’t they heard of smoke machines?’
Despite the memories he has of the assault allegations at the home, Sir Cliff calls the property a ‘magical home’, where he entertained family and friends, including close pal Cilla Black, for more than two decades.
Sir Cliff is considering to sell his Barbados holiday home as well, and is looking to spend more time at his flat in London and in America, where he is ‘totally left alone’.
The upcoming year will be an exciting one for Sir Cliff. On October 14, his 77th birthday, he will announce plans to mark his 60 years in showbusiness since his 1958 debut hit, Move It.
Sir Cliff (pictured in 2009) was at the Portuguese home when he first discovered he was being accused of sexual assault – something he learned through watching the news
But the singer (pictured in 2009) was also at the home nearly two years later, when he was told by phone that the Crown Prosecution Service was throwing out the case against him in 2016
The singer was recently awarded ‘substantial damages’ from South Yorkshire Police and the force apologised for its ‘unlawful’ raid in connection with allegations of sex abuse that were unfounded.
He is still in the process of suing the BBC which filmed live coverage of the search and any trial is expected to take place next year.
Sir Cliff was the subject of a long-running South Yorkshire Police investigation which centred on accusations dating between 1958 and 1983.
His hell was finally concluded in June this year when prosecutors said no charges would be brought against him.
Officers investigating allegations of historical sex offences were filmed searching his apartment in Berkshire in 2014, leading to him being publicly named as the subject of the probe.
He was never arrested or charged and his case was discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service in June 2016 on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
Sir Cliff has tried to sell his Portuguese estate more than once in recent years, with it last on the market in April for £4.6million.
He originally sought £8million for his award-winning winery in Albufeira, but dropped the price to £5.5m earlier this year and has now lowered it again to just £4.6m.
Sir Cliff (pictured in 2009) was the subject of a long-running South Yorkshire Police investigation which centred on accusations dating between 1958 and 1983 made by four men
The singer (pictured in 2009) is still in the process of suing the BBC which filmed live coverage of the search and any trial is expected to take place next year
The stunning site – which sees 11 bedrooms split across two mansions – provides spectacular views over the vineyards and down the Algarve coastline.
The property on sale is Sir Cliff’s winery business, not his Portugal home which is nearby.
The site also boasts a tennis court, swimming pool, and landscaped gardens as part of the luxurious surrounds.
Naturally, Quinta do Miradouro and Adega do Cantor – which translates as ‘winery of the singer’ – also feature an outdoor entertainment set-up complete with barbecue.
Sir Cliff’s bottles of Mediterranean plonk, Vida Nova, have been produced on the 60,000 square metre since 2001 by neighbours Nigel and Lesley Birch.
After putting it up for sale last year, Sir Cliff said: ‘It is time to slow down the treadmill and hand over the dream to someone who can dedicate more time to this wonderful venture than we can.
‘Creating and establishing the winery has been a truly exhilarating and rewarding experience. It has been hard work but we are immensely proud of what has been achieved here.’
The larger of the two properties has four double bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large lounge and dining room, full central heating with a log burning fire and a fully fitted kitchen with breakfast area.
The second home has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and an open-plan kitchen, lounge and dining area, all of which opens on to a terrace, garden and private pool area.