No charges for UK comedian after probe

2014-05-06 21:31
British comedian and TV personality Freddie Starr and his fiancee Sophie Lee, in December 2011 in London. (File, AP)

British comedian and TV personality Freddie Starr and his fiancee Sophie Lee, in December 2011 in London. (File, AP)

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London - British comedian Freddie Starr was told on Tuesday he will face no charges stemming from a mammoth probe into historic sex offences, after spending 18 months on police bail.

The 71-year-old was first arrested in November 2012 by detectives from Scotland Yard's Operation Yewtree, set up following the Jimmy Savile scandal.

The revelation in 2012 that the late BBC presenter Savile - a household name in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s - had been a serial sex offender for decades prompted a round of arrests of leading figures in the entertainment industry from that period.

"Having carefully reviewed this case, we have decided that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute Freddie Starr in relation to allegations of sexual offences made by 13 individuals," said Baljit Ubhey of the Crown Prosecution Service.

He said there was therefore no realistic prospect of conviction.

Although there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction in relation to one further complainant, a prosecution in this case "would not be in the public interest", Ubhey said.

He stressed that did not mean Starr should be considered guilty - a matter solely for courts and juries.

"The complainants have been informed and we will be writing to them to more fully explain our decision," he said.

Starr's lawyer claimed last month that there had been a "flagrant breach" of the comic's human rights due to the time it was taking to come to a charging decision.

Celebrity publicist Max Clifford, another high-profile figure investigated by Operation Yewtree, was jailed last week for eight years for a series of indecent assaults on teenagers.

Clifford gave the green light to The Sun tabloid's infamous 1986 story headlined "Freddie Starr ate my hamster". It made a 2006 BBC shortlist of the 20th century's most memorable newspaper front pages.

The entertainer has always denied putting the rodent in a sandwich and eating it.

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