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Friday 19 September 2014

Accused Le Vell 'fighting for life'

Published 05/09/2013 | 19:51

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Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell denies 12 charges of child sex offences

Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell choked back tears to tell a jury he is "fighting for his life" as he denied a string of child sex allegations.

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The soap actor's private life was laid bare in court as he admitted being an alcoholic, having a string of one night stands and an affair - as his wife underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer. And the court heard Le Vell, 48, was a man with "demons" within, whose victim was either telling the truth or had given an "Oscar winning" performance in court.

The actor spoke in a trembling voice to tell the hushed courtroom of his "shock and devastation" at being accused of raping and sexually abusing the youngster.

On the fourth day of his trial, Le Vell, an actor in the soap for 30 years, stood in the witness box for two hours defending himself against 12 charges of child sex abuse.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claims Le Vell - whose real name is Michael Turner - repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped her, once while she was clutching a teddy bear.

Under cross-examination by Eleanor Laws QC, prosecuting, he denied suggestions he laughed or sneered as the victim's mother gave evidence.

But Ms Laws tore into the character of the actor over his past behaviour in a series of terse courtroom exchanges, claiming the defendant was a man with "demons" and nothing like his on-screen part of Kevin Webster known to millions of TV fans.

Ms Laws said: "It has never been more important for you to be more persuasive than you have ever been... It has never been more important for people watching you to believe you, has it?"

Ms Laws compared his need to be persuasive to an acting job.

Le Vell replied: "It's nothing like an acting job.

"You never get put in a position like this. They never teach you to be here and face what I have been faced with for the last two years. No one can teach you that."

His voice breaking, he added: "I'm fighting for my life."

Ms Laws told the jury this was "not a court of morals" but went on to ask about the "several" affairs Le Vell had earlier admitted to while married for 25 years to wife Janette Beverley.

Le Vell agreed it was his case that the alleged victim had told lie after lie first to her mother, then police and then to the jury in court.

Ms Laws told Le Vell he was "clutching at straws".

Press Association

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