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Freddie Starr’s sister says Operation Yewtree killed the comic

Freddie Starr’s sister says Operation Yewtree killed the comic because groping claims turned him into debt-ridden recluse before his death at 76

  • Starr one of the most iconic faces in British comedy from the 1970s onwards
  • Known for being subject of newspaper headline – Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster
  • Starr, 76, had allegations of historic sexual assault and lost a defamation case 
  • His sister, Brenda Hughes, blames the stress of allegations for his decline

Freddie Starr’s sister has said Operation Yewtree turned killed the comic because groping allegations turned him into a debt-ridden recluse.

Starr, 76, a household name who rose to fame in the 1970s, was found dead at his home in Spain on Thursday, last week.

He established himself as a popular stand-up act, and became arguably the best-known comedian of his age, earning thousands of fans and £2million a year, performing to packed audiences. 

But his later years were marred by allegations of historic sexual assault and he was arrested four times during Operation Yewtree – the investigation into historic child abuse, but released without charge.

Starr (pictured in Spain) was a household name who rose to fame in the 1970s, was found dead at his home in Spain on Thursday, last week

In a bid to clear his name, he had launched a libel claim against the woman who had pointed the finger at him. 

He lost the damages claim against his accuser in the High Court in 2015 that cost him a rumoured £1 million before fleeing to Spain where he spent the remainder of his years.

Speaking to The Sun Online, Starr’s sister Brenda Hughes, 79, said: ‘Freddie telephoned me after the case ended.

‘I think it had a big impact on him both mentally and physically.

‘He felt devastated and I don’t think he ever properly recovered.’

Starr previously described the two years he spent under investigation by officers from Yewtree as a ‘living hell’, blaming the police and zealous lawyers for encouraging ‘crazies’ to make wild accusations against celebrities from the Savile era.

‘What’s going on with the Yewtree investigation is like the Salem witch hunt,’ he said. ‘A generation of entertainers have been targeted by attention seekers and ambulance-chasing lawyers.’

He said the allegations had ruined his life. ‘There is no coming back from this,’ he said. 

‘I’ve hit rock bottom. I used to earn £2 million a year, but I’ve not worked for five years and all I’ve got to live off is a small private pension. It gives me £1,200 a month. I’m living off that.’

His sister last spoke to Starr three years ago, and admits the news of his death – which she found out about on TV.

She added: ‘All I’ve been thinking about since getting the news is him being by himself when it happened.

‘He must have been under a lot of stress.’

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