UK & World News

  • 17 January 2014, 21:24

Roache Trial: Corrie Star 'Like An Octopus'

Actor William Roache sexually assaulted a schoolgirl just after showing her around Coronation Street pub the Rovers Return, a court has heard.

The alleged victim, now 59, was 15 when he is said to have invited her into the Granada studios in Manchester where the soap was filmed.

In a video recording of a police interview played at Preston Crown Court, the woman said Roache went up close to her and put his hands on her breasts and up her skirt.

"He was like an octopus - hands everywhere," she said.

She claimed the soap star was still in his stage clothes and make-up when the assault happened.

"I know it sounds daft but I was frightened to run away in case he tried to  drag me back," she said in the police interview.

The woman said she told Roache she was having a period in an effort to make him stop, and that he replied: "Maybe next time."

She said she never returned.

Earlier, another woman allegedly raped by Roache claimed she suffered psychological problems in later years.

The woman, now aged 62, was 15 at the time the star is said to have attacked her - first in his bungalow in Lancashire and then in a nearby cottage that he also owned. 

She told the court she had suffered depression for a number of years following the alleged offences.

Appearing via a video link, the woman was cross-examined by defence barrister Louise Blackwell QC about the first alleged rape in 1967.

"According to you this is a man you have known for some time and you lay there and say nothing. Is that right?" she asked.

The woman replied: "That's correct. I was speechless. I was shocked."

Ms Blackwell asked: "Were you crying on your way back (home)?"

The alleged victim replied: "I could not answer that. I was upset about what had happened, but cannot state 100% that I would be crying.

Ms Blackwell continued:  "You said nothing the next day?"

The woman replied:  "No. I went to school as normal ... I was humiliated. I was disgusted and ashamed. I was so shocked I would never have mentioned it to anyone."

It is alleged Roache raped the girl again sometime later the same year.

The defence barrister asked why the woman could not remember what had happened after the second rape.

She replied:  "You want to close your mind to (those memories). You don't want to remember them. You just black them out. I never thought I would ever repeat these. I have buried this for 47 years."

The woman said she suffered a nervous breakdown following the birth of one of her children and was admitted to a psychiatric department, although she did not claim this was connected to the alleged rapes.

Roache, who plays the character Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, denies five charges of sexual assault and two of rape against girls under the age of 16.

The trial continues.

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