Wednesday 21 February 2018

Actor Roache denies child sex offences

Kim Pilling

The 81-year-old actor formally denied the charges in a hearing at Preston Crown Court.

The veteran soap star was arrested at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, in May and charged with two counts of raping a 15-year-old girl in East Lancashire in 1967.

He was later additionally charged with five indecent assaults involving four girls aged between 11 or 12 and 16, allegedly committed in the Manchester area between 1965 and 1968.

Roache entered the dock and confirmed his name.

The indictment containing the seven counts was then read to him and on each allegation he responded with a firm answer of "not guilty".

Roache's trial will begin at Preston Crown Court on January 14 and is scheduled to last four weeks. He remains on bail with various conditions including residence, no direct unsupervised contact with anyone under 16 and not to approach named witnesses.

When he was initially charged, Roache said he was "astounded and deeply horrified" by the accusations.

He has played Ken Barlow in the ITV soap since its launch but will not appear in the programme until legal proceedings are concluded.

Roache made no comment to the media as he left the building following the 30-minute hearing in front of the Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell QC.

Irish Independent

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