Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 11°C

Search

National: Coronation Street star William Roache cleared of sexually abusing five youngsters

12:26 06 February 2014

Coronation Street actor William Roache has been cleared.
Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Coronation Street actor William Roache has been cleared. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Coronation Street star William Roache has been cleared of all charges of sexually abusing five youngsters.

shares

Roache was found not guilty by a jury of two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault following a four week trial at Preston Crown Court.

The 81-year-old actor, who plays Ken Barlow in the ITV soap, was said to have used his fame and popularity to exploit the “starstruck” girls, aged 16 and under, between the mid-60s and early 70s.

But Roache told the jury he had no knowledge of any of the women and the alleged abuse simply did not happen.

Roache said he was “astounded” and “horrified” at his arrest on suspicion of rape.

ITV announced he would not appear in the programme until legal proceedings were concluded.

The widespread publicity of the arrest led to four other women coming forward to allege they too had been victims in the same era.

Roache was arrested again last June and then charged with five counts of indecent assault.

But the world’s longest-serving soap actor - who has appeared in Coronation Street since its 1960 launch - told the jury sexual abuse was not in his “nature” and he had no interest in underage girls.

Louise Blackwell QC, defending, said the case against her client was “nonsense”, with the trial haunted by the “spectre” of Jimmy Savile.

“In the post Jimmy Savile era, once someone makes an allegation, it’s got to go to court, no sense will prevail, it has to go to court,” Miss Blackwell said.

Glowing testimonies about Roache’s “caring” and “lovely” nature were given in evidence by three of his Coronation Street co-stars including Anne Kirkbride, who plays his on-screen wife Deirdre.

It was not credible the jury were told that the “perfect gentleman” and “father figure” they described had been a “sexual predator”.

And the “inconsistencies and contradictions” of each complainant’s “story” was picked apart under cross-examination.

During the trial the prosecution offered no evidence on one of two counts of indecent assault, relating to one complainant, as she had “no actual memory of the episode”.

The involvement of the press was also highlighted.

The husband of one complainant, whose sister was also allegedly abused, contacted the papers before the police - which “coloured” their allegations, Miss Blackwell said.

After Roache’s initial arrest for rape was “all over the press” she asked the jury whether any of the other women who came forward later could be regarded as “truly independent.”

shares
A Jaguar collided with the kiosk at the fuel station next to the Goddard Road Asda store in Ipswich

A car has crashed into the petrol station at the Goddard Road Asda.

The pair of Tucano T1 jets, registrations ZF160 and ZF516, travelling through Suffolk on a truck

It is not every day you overtake a couple of high speed jet aeroplanes – particularly on a Suffolk dual carriageway.

The Lord Nelson pub in Fore Street, Ipswich. Pic: Fleurets

The Lord Nelson pub has emerged as the latest historical venue to go up for sale in Ipswich.

Ballots being counted at Suffolk Police Headquarters for PCC elections. 
Announcement of Tim Passmore as winning candidate

Suffolk has re-elected incumbent Tory Tim Passmore to serve as the police and crime commissioner following yesterday’s poll.

Pictures supplied by Mid Suffolk District Council after inspections at Flames Kebabs, in Elmswell

The owner of a kebab van positioned regularly outside a Suffolk railway station has been banned from operating a food business for three years after a string of hygiene breaches.

Brendan Padfield from The Unruly Pig and Shirley Green from Riding for the Disabled Hollesley group (foreground), with Moya Luddington and David and Anna Freebourne

An award-winning Suffolk pub has presented a prize of its own making to a local charity.

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward

A security guard chased three males outside Crown House in Ipswich Town Centre this afternoon after they were caught on CCTV stealing a bike from outside the property.

The local election counts at Ipswich Corn Exchange.

Ipswich Labour Party was enjoying the satisfaction of victory on Friday after they made significant gains in the borough elections.

Peregrine chicks nesting in The Mill, Ipswich Waterfront

A project to provide a safe nesting place for peregrine falcons in Ipswich has proved a success after images of five chicks were shared this morning.

Corn exchange Ipswich

Ipswich Borough Council was left red-faced after being forced to give one of its own establishments a one-star food hygiene rating, it has been revealed.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24