Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 17°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

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 Premier Inn hotel in Bury St Edmunds - council teams stayed at the Bournemouth hotel

They may be based just yards from each other – but Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough had very different bills at the end of their annual visit to the nation’s main event for local authorities.

Registered sex offenders missing

Six of Suffolk’s 700-plus registered sex offenders are currently listed as missing, police have said.

Filming for the new BBC comedy drama 'Detectorists' in Framilngham. Mackenzie Crook on the set.

Film firm which has worked on Star Wars, The Apprentice, BFG and Jason Bourne films hopes to bring blockbusters to Suffolk

The Turner family, (L to R) Stuart, Joseph, Layla, Carla and Charlie, who raised £220 for the Sick Children's Trust

The family of an “inspirational” Suffolk teenager, who underwent life-saving brain surgery, have thanked the charity that enabled them to keep vigil at his bedside.

Pupils at Sprites Primary School have a junior pig named Mudlet that they have painted as part of Pigs Gone Wild project.

Can your children create a brightly coloured pig to rival those that have popped up around Ipswich this summer?

Essex Fire and Rescue has issued safety advice after the candle fire. Photo: David Stubbs

A candle left unattended in a bathroom has caused a house fire in Clacton.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A 20-year-old man from Ipswich has been charged with allegedly kicking a female police officer in the face and biting her male colleague.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24