Tuesday 17 October 2017

TV star raped little girl as she clutched her teddy, trial is told

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

Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell raped a young girl as she clutched a teddy bear, a court has been told.

The actor allegedly told the girl, "It's Okay, just keep calm, stay asleep . . . I'm going to get rid of the evil," as he sexually abused her, Manchester Crown Court heard.

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 and shook his head saying "not guilty" in a strong voice as the charges were put to him before his trial began.

After 12 jurors were selected, two members asked to be excused and two replacements were selected for a jury of eight women and four men.

DRINKER

Judge Michael Henshell warned them: "The man on trial is Michael Turner, not the character he plays."

Eleanor Laws QC, prosecuting, then began the opening address, telling the jury Le Vell was a "heavy drinker".

She said: "There is no room in your deliberations for any form of emotion or sympathy or prejudice. You must judge the facts of this case using your own common sense."

Ms Laws said the abuse began when Le Vell slipped his hand under the girl's clothing.

Afterwards Le Vell seemed happy, "as if it was giving him pleasure", the jury heard.

The first time he raped the girl, she clutched a teddy while Le Vell put another teddy bear over her mouth, it is alleged.

"It's okay. I'm making the evil stop once and for all now. It'll be fine," he allegedly told the girl. He then raped the youngster, kissed her on the cheek and left, the court heard.

The jury heard that on another occasion Le Vell raped the girl orally.

"He did not say anything this time, and after he had finished, he just got up and left," Ms Laws said.

"She recalls that afterwards she felt sick," the prosecutor added.

The girl was "scared" and did not understand what was going on during the abuse, the jury was told.

Le Vell allegedly told the child: "It's our little secret, no-one needs to know otherwise . . . you'll die and the evil will come over you." Ms Laws said Le Vell would speak to another adult, who cannot be named for legal reasons, about his problems and referred to a "secret" he had and said the adult would "not believe what was inside his head".

The prosecutor added: "On another occasion he stated that he was 'unforgivable' but would not say what he had done."

The girl later broke down in tears and police were called.

A full medical examination of the girl showed no damage to her genitals but the prosecution say this was because the penetration was partial not full.

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, Le Vell was re-arrested and charged in February 2013.

At his first arrest he answered all the questions put to him, Ms Laws told the jury.

"In summary he denied the allegations made. He said that she was a fantasist and an attention seeker."

Ms Laws told the jury: "He accepted that he drank too much and had tried Alcoholics Anonymous in the past but it hadn't worked for him."

She continued: "He denied each of the allegations she had made and said she was seriously deluded and that she was telling a pack of absolute lies, he was shocked and stunned by the allegations and didn't know why she was saying it."

ARREST

After his arrest the second time, he declined to answer any further questions and provided police with a prepared statement, again denying all the allegations and refusing to make any further comment.

Le Vell, who lives in Cheshire in the north-west of England, 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.

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

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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