Coro St star on trial for sex assaults

Last updated 10:52 15/01/2014
william roache
Reuters
IN COURT: William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in the soap opera Coronation Street, arrives at Preston Crown Court in Preston.

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British television actor William Roache has gone on trial on charges of rape and indecent assault.

Roache, 81, who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, allegedly used his fame to gain sexual favours and silence his victims.

Roache denies two counts of raping a 15-year-old girl in East Lancashire in 1967. He also denies five counts of indecent assault on four girls aged 11 to 16 in Manchester, between 1965 and 1968.

The first complainant came forward last March, and Roache was arrested on 1 May on two counts of rape. The publicity of the charges led other victims to come forward.

Prosecutor Anne White opened the case against him at Preston Crown Court in northwest England.

The victims were described by the prosecution as ""star-struck teenagers" manipulated by the actor.

In 1965, one 14-year-old visiting a television studio was led to a toilet where Roache made her commit a sex act on him, while another alleged victim was fondled in a toilet in an "unceremonious sexual act", White said.

Another alleged victim, after asking for Roache's autograph, accepted his offer of a lift home. During the ride he made her commit a sex act on him, before giving her half a crown for a bus fare.

The alleged victim of rape said she was a 15-year-old virgin when Roache raped her twice in a bedroom in 1967.

She was "uncomfortable and panic-stricken", the court heard.

The actor told police he "had taken the opportunity to sleep with many women but this had always been with their consent" and added he did not seek out girls under the age of 16 as they "did not interest him sexually".

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