Coro St star denies raping girls

Last updated 07:56 29/01/2014
WILLIAM ROACHE
Getty Images
ACCUSED: William Roache leaves Preston Crown Court after taking the stand for the first time in his sex trial.

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Coronation Street star Bill Roache has admitted cheating on his wife but denies raping young girls, after he took the stand at his sex assault trial in the UK.

Roache told the court he could not remember meeting or knowing any of his alleged victims, the Mirror reported.

The 81-year-old, who plays Ken Barlow on the soap, is standing trial on two counts of rape and four of indecent assault against girls aged between 12 and 16, from 1965 to 1968.

Earlier, he was cleared of another assault charge after a witness admitted she could not remember the alleged incident.

Today in the Preston Crown Court, he was asked about a letter he wrote to a 14-year-old girl, who has accused him of forcing her to perform a sex act on him in the toilets at Granada Studios in Manchester in 1965.

The woman said a few weeks after the incident she received the letter with a signed photograph and Roache thanked her for a previous message and told her to "write to me when you start school again and tell me more."

Roache told the court he liked to personalise letters and said he had no intention of having personal face-to-face contact with her. 

He said he would always try to write back to fans because he wanted more fan mail than other Coronation Street cast members, describing it as an "ego thing", the Daily Mail reported.

Roache was asked to outline his childhood and early days of his career on the British soap.

He said his marriage to Anna Cropper was in trouble from 1965 to 1969, when they divorced.

"There was a period in my marriage which was not as fulfilling as it should have been and I did have a series of relationships with people. I was looking for relationships."

Asked about Granada Studios, he said no outsiders would have been allowed into the studios while filming and the toilet facilities were in "constant use".

"It was so much going on, so many big productions happened, including ours, that security was very strict and people were not allowed in."

Roache was asked if he thought he was attractive to members of the opposite sex in the 1960s.

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"That is for others to say," he replied.

"But I did have fan mail which suggested that."

But he said he had no interest in girls under the age of 16.

"Young girls who may present themselves in a sexual manner would not have interested me," he said.

"I was not looking for gratuitous sex. I was not interested in underage sex. I was interested in relationships with older, co-operative women."

- Stuff

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