Saturday 20 December 2014

Corrie star Bill Roache's 'octopus' hands were everywhere, court told

Kim Pilling

Published 18/01/2014 | 02:30

Coronation Street actor William Roache (centre) arrives at Preston Crown Court with sons James (left), Linus (2nd left) and daughter Verity (2nd right)
Coronation Street actor William Roache (centre) arrives at Preston Crown Court with sons James (left), Linus (2nd left) and daughter Verity (2nd right)

'Coronation Street' star William Roache was like "an octopus" with "hands everywhere", an alleged sex assault victim told detectives.

She said the actor -- whom she dubbed The Roache -- groped her in a room at Granada Studios in Manchester after being led past the Rovers Return pub on the set.

In a video recording of her police interview played to jurors at Preston Crown Court, she said she thought she was about 14 when Roache arranged studio passes for her and her younger sister.

She said: "He came over to me and stood really close to me and put both hands on my breasts. He took his right arm off and he had gone up my skirt and into my knickers.

"I started worrying. I knew I couldn't run. I told him I was on a period, which I wasn't.

"He asked me whether I was sure and I said 'Yeah'. He asked me not to say anything."

The woman added that Mr Roache -- who has played Ken Barlow since the launch of the ITV soap -- also told her: "Perhaps next time."

ASSAULT

She told the interviewing woman officer: "He was like an octopus. Hands everywhere."

Roache (81) of Wilmslow, Cheshire, denies two counts of rape and five counts of indecent assault involving five complainants aged 16 and under on dates between 1965 and 1971.

The woman said she and her sister would sit outside the studio in the summer holidays along with other girls and boys. She said she thought they were autograph-hunting.

The woman said she recalled a comment made to her by the actor who played Mike Baldwin in the soap, the court heard.

She said: "I remember him saying -- because Ken Barlow was talking to me and my sister -- he said 'You want to watch that one'."

"Meaning who?" asked the officer.

"Ken Barlow," she replied.

Roache was charged last May with two counts of rape on one alleged victim, with the publicity that followed leading to the four other complainants coming forward.

The trial continues on Monday morning when the witness will be cross-examined.

Irish Independent

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