Wednesday 20 September 2017

Medical evidence on alleged victim of Corrie star is ‘neutral’

Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell leaves Manchester Crown Court at the end of the second day of his trial for a series of child sex offences
Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell leaves Manchester Crown Court at the end of the second day of his trial for a series of child sex offences

A DOCTOR who examined the girl allegedly raped by Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell agreed her findings did not prove child sex abuse had taken place.

Dr Louise O'Connor agreed with a second expert that the medical findings of the examination of the girl were "neutral and neither support or refute the allegations".

Le Vell is accused at Manchester Crown Court of a series of sex assaults against the youngster, including raping her as she clutched a teddy bear.

Le Vell, 48, who plays car mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV soap, is facing 12 charges in all - five counts of rape, three of indecent assault, two counts of sexual activity with a child, and two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Le Vell, who is on trial under his real name of Michael Turner, denies the offences saying they are "an absolute pack of lies".

Dr O'Connor said she examined the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at the St Mary's Sexual Assault Centre in Manchester in October 2011, when the allegations were made to police.

The girl claims to have been sexually abused and raped four times, including from a young age, but Dr O'Connor said there were no injuries to the girl's hymen.

However, Dr O'Connor told the jury that sometimes children who are abused have no understanding of full penetrative sex and may confuse this with partial penetration, which may not damage the hymen.

Eleanor Laws QC, prosecuting, asked the witness: "What do you say about your findings in relation to her allegations?"

Dr O'Connor replied: "Having no injuries certainly does not negate any of those allegations - a significant number of children and young people who make allegations of assault and come to us to be examined a significant number will not have any injuries."

The witness said this could be for three reasons - the sexual contact did not leave an injury, or in a post-pubescent girl the tissue is compliant and so leaves no injury, or that by the time the girl is examined the injury has healed naturally.

The jury has heard that, in this case, the girl was examined two years after the last alleged episode of abuse.

Dr O'Connor added: "The timing of an examination is most important in dating injuries. Injuries heal up quickly, certain injuries persist. A full tear of the hymen, those tend to persist."

The witness said if the girl had been subjected to full penetrative sex it would "likely" cause injury to her hymen but it could have caused a "partial tear" that had healed.

Dr O'Connor agreed with the conclusions of a second expert, Dr Victoria Aziz, that full penile penetration could be excluded in this case but partial penetration could not and that the results of the examination neither supported nor negated the girl's allegations.

Le Vell was initially arrested on September 30, 2011, but the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to proceed with the case.

But after a review of the evidence, he was re-arrested and charged in February 2013.

Le Vell, who lives in Hale, Cheshire, is one of TV's most famous faces after playing Kevin Webster for the past 30 years.

Originally from Manchester, he began his showbusiness career at the Oldham Theatre Workshop after taking an interest in amateur dramatics while at school.

He first joined Coronation Street in 1983 and quickly endeared himself to fans, who have followed the trials and tribulations of Kevin, from Brian Tilsley's apprentice mechanic through to his stormy marriage.

ITV has said he will not be appearing in any further episodes of the soap pending the outcome of legal proceedings.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow morning.

 

Pat Hurst

Press Association

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