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Roache 'offered girl lift in his Rolls then forced her to perform sex act'

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ACCUSED: William Roache arrives at court with his daughter, Verity

ACCUSED: William Roache arrives at court with his daughter, Verity

ACCUSED: William Roache arrives at court with his daughter, Verity

Coronation Street star William Roache indecently assaulted a teenage girl after offering her a lift home in his Rolls-Royce, a court heard.

The victim was with a friend when the actor, who plays Ken Barlow, got the girl to perform a sex act on him, a jury at Preston Crown Court was told.

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 jury heard evidence from the fifth and last of the five alleged victims yesterday as a video of her police interview was played to the jury.

AUTOGRAPH

The victim, now aged 57, told police she was with a friend autograph-hunting outside Granada Studios in Manchester when Roache offered the girls a lift home in his Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.

"We were both getting in the back and he said, 'No, you get in the front', so I sat in the front and looked back at my friend," she said.

"I just looked straight ahead and the next thing he got his hand over his thing, then he had his hand over mine and he started moving it."

She added that she moved her hand away when a double decker bus pulled alongside, but he forced it back, getting her to perform a sex act. Shortly after, Roache is alleged to have told the girls to get out and gave them half-a-crown to get the bus home.

The alleged incident is said to have happened at some time between June 1968 and September 1971.

Earlier, the witness's sister, who is two years older, claimed Roache indecently assaulted her when she was 14 after the two girls were both invited inside the studios by the defendant.

She told the jury that Roache groped her breasts and put his hand up her skirt in his dressing room after they had been shown the set of the Rovers Return.

And she claimed Peter Adamson, who played Len Fairclough, warned her about Roache and called him a "cockroach".

"It was Len Fairclough that made the comment," she said. "Because when he said it he looked directly at him and he looked at us and said, 'You want to keep your eye on him, he will lead you astray', and he called him 'cockroach'.

The court heard that the alleged victim and her sister were invited inside the studios by Roache. He took her to his dressing room and indecently assaulted her.

She told police: "He was like an octopus – hands everywhere."

Challenged about her account of what happened by Roache's lawyer, Louise Blackwell QC, the witness told the court: "It happened, no matter what you are saying or what your job is, it happened.

SURPRISED

"I have no reason to lie, no reason in the world."

Miss Blackwell later put it to the witness: "Are you even trying to tell the truth here?"

"I'm telling the truth," she replied. "Why the hell would I put myself through all of this?"

"I'm hardly surprised that these people [other alleged victims] are not coming forward.

"If I had known what I was going to go through I would not have come forward.

"I feel as if I am on trial here. I have done nothing wrong here, it's Mr Barlow, Ken Barlow that's done it."

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie


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