Coro St sex accused 'perfect gentleman'

Last updated 07:54 30/01/2014
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ACCUSED: William Roache arrives for his trial in Preston, Lancashire over historical sexual offences.

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CO-STAR: Anne Kirkbride plays Roache's onscreen wife and told the court he was "lovely".

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Coronation Street actor William Roache was "always a perfect gentleman", his on-screen wife has told his sex assault trial.

Roache, who plays Ken Barlow on the British soap, denies two rapes and four indecent assaults against five women aged 16 or under between 1965 and 1971.

Anne Kirkbride, who plays Deirdre Barlow, was one of several cast members who gave evidence overnight at the trial at Preston Crown Court, in northwest England.

She said she was a "terrified and very nervous" young actress when she joined Coronation St in 1972 and first met Roache, the Independent reported.

"He was friendly...we had a really nice chat and he offered me a cigarette," she said.

"We shared a lot of the same interests in spiritual things. I just found him very easy to talk to."

She described him as "lovely" adding that he behaved "impeccably" towards her.

Helen Worth, who plays Barlow's neighbour Gail McIntyre, told the court he was "a father figure, an elder statesman".

"He was caring, never anything more," she said.

Worth was asked by the defence if she had seen Roache in the company of young female cast members, the BBC reported.

She said that she had and that she "never saw anything that was untoward whatsoever in 40 years".

Roache is accused of using his fame and popularity to exploit "starstruck" young girls for sex in the 1960s.

He was cleared of one indecent assault on the judge's direction earlier this week.

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