max temp: 13°C

min temp: 12°C

ESTD 1874 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.


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.”

The entrance to PPG Industries in Stowmarket. (File image from 2012)

Two males believed to be from Afghanistan have been arrested on immigration offences in Stowmarket this morning.

Airman 1st Class Darren Phillips, 48th Equipment Maintenance Squadron crew chief at RAF Lakenheath, who died in a motorcycle accident

A memorial service for a 20-year-old US Air Force airman who died after a crash near Barton Mills is being held.

Police attended the accident

A female cyclist was in hospital on Friday after a collision in Colchester.

A car on Brackenwood Crescent has rolled into a house  causing minor damage.

A bearded dragon narrowly escaped unharmed, if a little bit shaken, after a car slammed into the front of a house in Bury St Edmunds earlier today.

The crash happened late at night

Motorists were delayed on the A120 near Great Bromley after a three-vehicle crash on Friday night.

Woodbridge Shuck Shellfish Festival

If you’d like to treat your tastebuds this weekend, you’re in the right place.

Dr John Ashdown-Hill from Lawford is made an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.  Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

A historian who was instrumental in the discovery of Richard III’s remains has today been presented with an MBE.

Miss Teen Suffolk Emma Collingridge who is opening Framlingham Sausagefest, with orgainsers Jenny Stockman and Richard Harrison.

Organisers behind Framlingham’s annual SausageFest have said they are expecting a record number of visitors to the event tomorrow.

Police are investigating the incident

Police have issued CCTV images of three people they are keen to identify following a theft from a Co-op supermarket in Felixstowe

The River Alde from Snape looking towards the sea.

Consultation will start next month on proposals for the future management of one of Suffolk’s most precious but vulnerable estuaries.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages