Roache Stands Trial for Indecent Assault & Rape
Coronation Street star William Roache arrived at Preston Crown Court today to stand trial on five counts of indecent assault and two counts of raping a 15-year-old girl in East Lancashire in 1967.
Mr Roache now aged 81, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, denies all charges. The alleged offences involve 4 girls aged 11 to 16 in Manchester between 1965 and 1968, the court heard.
Mr Justice Holroyde said: “It is a real person, William Roache, who is on trial. You must separate the fictional character (Ken Barlow) from the real person, you will have to decide verdicts from the evidence you will hear from a real person, about a real person”.
Opening the prosecution, Anne Whyte QC told the jury: “If you have an instinct to think that the older an allegation is, the less serious it is, think again.”
She said the first of the women complainants, now aged 62, contacted police in March 2013 after talking to her son. The veteran soap star was then arrested at his home in May and charged with two counts of rape.
The court heard Coronation Street actors Anne Kirkbride, Chris Gascoyne and Helen Worth are among the defence witnesses who will be called during the trial. The trio play the characters Deirdre Barlow, Peter Barlow and Gail McIntyre.
Following Mr Justice Holroyde’s remarks, a panel of eight women and four men were selected and sworn into court. Mr Roache arrived at the court with his sons Linus and James, and a security guard.
The actor, who has not appeared in the programme while legal proceedings were ongoing, “strenuously” denies the allegations and the trial is scheduled to last up to four weeks.