My 'dark secrets' are affairs not child rape, claims Le Vell
'Coronation Street' star Michael Le Vell has told a jury that his "little dark secrets" are a string of one-night stands and not the sexual abuse of a young girl.
The soap actor's private life has been laid bare in court as he admitted being an alcoholic, having one-night stands and an affair – as his wife underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer.
But the 48-year-old, who has played garage mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV1 soap for 30 years, denies he is a child rapist as he defends himself against 12 charges of sexual abuse.
Continuing his cross-examination at Manchester Crown Court by Eleanor Laws, prosecuting, Mr Le Vell told the jury of a conversation he had with someone last year about "secrets".
He told the person: "I have had a few one-night stands."
He said he had a similar conversation four years ago but did not reveal the secrets.
Mr Le Vell agreed also telling the same person that what he had done was "something unforgivable".
But he denied ever saying that they would not believe "what things are inside my head".
"You said that?" asked Miss Laws.
"No," he replied.
The barrister continued: "It would be a very odd thing to have said if you were talking about one-night stands."
Mr Le Vell said: "It would not make sense."
Ms Laws said: "I am going to suggest to you that what you were referring to was the abuse that was going on?"
"No, not at all," he replied. "There was no abuse going on."
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claims Mr Le Vell repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped her, once while she was clutching a teddy bear.
Mr Le Vell, whose real name is Michael Turner, denies 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.
Ms Laws said: "I am going to suggest to you that the secret is not the one-night stands but something far more sinister."
"No," said Mr Le Vell. "I totally disagree."
Mr Le Vell told the court he is an alcoholic, drinking seven or eight pints every night at his local pub.
Ms Laws continued: "Because something was troubling you... to go out every night?"
Mr Le Vell replied: "No, I went out every night because I'm working class."
The actor said his wife had allowed him to go out every night.
"So it's partly her fault?" Ms Laws said.
"I'm not blaming her for going out but she enabled me to go out," Mr Le Vell said.
"I suggest you were finding it difficult to live with yourself," Ms Laws said, "Once this abuse started, you just could not stop yourself."
Ms Laws put it to the accused that he groomed the victim and gradually "pushed the limits".
Mr Le Vell replied: "It never happened."
As he continued to give his version of events, Ms Laws said: "Are you making this up as you go along?"
He said: "No, this is fact."
Ms Laws then questioned how Mr Le Vell behaved when confronted with the allegations.
The defendant told the jury his initial reaction was: "You're joking! Tell me you're f****** joking?"
Ms Laws said: "Quite an aggressive way, as if angry?"
"No, saying it because I'm shocked," Mr Le Vell replied.
Ms Laws said: "You don't say at any time: 'What? What's she saying? Oh my goodness'.
"You don't actually say 'What's this all about?'
"You just say 'Tell me you are joking!"'
"Because I'm in shock," Mr Le Vell replied.
"Because you have been found out," Ms Laws said.
Mr Le Vell replied: "There's no script for this, you just say what's in your head.
"I was shocked and stunned."
Concluding her cross-examination, Ms Laws said: "You thought you had got away with it."
Mr Le Vell said: "There's nothing to get away with."
The trial continues.