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William Roache 'Sent Signed Photo To Victim'
Coronation Street star William Roache sent a 14-year-old girl a signed photo of himself after sexually assaulting her, a court has heard.
The alleged victim is one of five who claim the 81-year-old actor raped or sexually assaulted them in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Prosecutors claim Roache forced her to commit a sex act on him in the male toilets of a television studio.
The photo and signed letter he sent her were deliberate acts to secure her loyalty and a form of "grooming", jurors were told.
Many of the actor's alleged victims did not complain to the police until 2013.
According to prosecutor Anne Whyte QC, one woman said she felt "intimidated", adding: "People feel he is some kind of super actor."
Another woman only came forward after a conversation with her son about Jimmy Savile, during which he said he could not understand why sexual assault victims would not speak to the police.
Earlier, the jury was told not to judge victims based on how long it took for them to make their allegations.
Ms Whyte said: "If you think a victim of crime has lost the opportunity to complain because he or she did not complain at the time, think again.
"A crime is a crime however dated. It doesn't make them liars or attention seekers. In due course I shall be asking you to accept that it makes them human."
She added: "Women who do not know each other are complaining about his behaviour from the same broad period of time.
"Are they all manipulative fantasists, riding on the coat tails of the post Savile crisis of conscience, or is the reality, quite simply, that they now have the confidence to give evidence about the truth which they have kept private for years?"
Roache has played the character of Ken Barlow in Coronation Street for more than 50 years.
Preston Crown Court heard he used his fame and popularity in the early years of the soap opera to take advantage of young girls, including one he is alleged to have raped twice.
The judge Mr Justice Holroyde told the jury: "It is not the fictional character Ken Barlow who is in court. It is the real person, Mr Roache, who is on trial and, of course, each member of the jury must separate the fictional TV character from the real person."
Roache denies five counts of indecent assault and two counts of rape. The alleged offences involve five girls, all of whom were under the age of 16 at the time.
The court heard he may be supported in his defence by fellow Coronation Street actors Helen Worth, Ann Kirkbride and Chris Gascoyne, who play Gail Platt, Deirdre Barlow and Peter Barlow respectively.
The trial continues.
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