The Crown Prosecution Service has announced that Sir Cliff Richard will not face charges over historic sexual abuse allegations that have hung over him for nearly two years – and the legendary singer has spoken out about the length of the investigation.

Just over a month after police handed over a file of evidence on the 75 year old singer that they spent the best of two years putting together, lawyers for the CPS have said that “no further action” will be taken against Sir Cliff because there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution.

Sir Cliff RichardSir Cliff Richard has been cleared of historic sexual abuse allegations

The 22-month police investigation started in August 2014 when the singer’s £2.5 million Berkshire home was controversially raided by police while being filmed on the BBC. This had been triggered by a claim that he had sexually assaulted a 15 year old boy during a Billy Graham rally in Sheffield in 1985.

While he immediately denied the allegations as “absurd and untrue”, he has faced many months of anxiety as the proceedings have gone on, although South Yorkshire Police apologised last year for the “initially handling of the media interest” in the case.

On Thursday morning (June 16th), the chief crown prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside said in a statement: “The CPS has carefully reviewed evidence relating to claims of non-recent sexual offences dating between 1958 and 1983 made by four men. We have decided that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute.”

More: Sir Cliff Richard puts his property that was publicly raided by police on the market

Less than an hour later, Richard said in his own statement: “I have always maintained my innocence, co-operated fully with the investigation, and cannot understand why it has taken so long to get to this point. Nevertheless, I am obviously thrilled that the vile accusations and the resulting investigation have finally been brought to a close.”

“My reputation will not be fully vindicated because the CPS' policy is to only say something general about there being 'insufficient' evidence. How can there be evidence for something that never took place! This is also a reason why people should never be named publicly until they have been charged unless there are exceptional circumstances.”

“To my fans and members of the public, to the press and media, all of whom continued to show me such encouraging and wonderful support, I would like to say ‘thank you’ it would have been so much harder without you.”

According another statement by South Yorkshire Police itself, the investigation has cost approximately £800,000 of public money, including staffing costs.

More: Police apologise for “insensitive” raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s home