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Corrie's William Roache: I Did Not Abuse Girls
Coronation Street star William Roache has flatly denied raping or indecently assaulting girls.
The actor also told jurors at his trial that he did not know any of the five alleged victims who have accused him of the offences.
As soon as he went into the witness box on the first day of his defence case, his barrister Louise Blackwell QC asked him: "Have you committed any of the offences with which you are charged?"
The actor replied: "No. I have not."
The lawyer continued: "Do you have any memory of being in the company of any of these people who have made the allegations against you?"
Roache: "No. Not one of them."
During questioning, he covered a range of topics including his interests in "spiritual matters", ambitions to work in the medical profession, and his life in the 1960s.
Speaking from a glass witness box in an assured voice he said that autograph hunters would gather outside Granada studios in Manchester where the programme was filmed.
"I would always stop," he said. "People had been waiting there all day so I liked to give autographs.
"You would wind down your window in the car, you would sign them and then on you go."
He denied ever inviting young fans into his dressing room or onto the Coronation Street set during filming.
"It was an extremely difficult and dangerous thing to do. Basically no - other than occasionally very close family," he said.
Anne Whyte QC, prosecuting, opened her cross-examination with questions about the actor's sexual past.
During questioning, he admitted being "frequently" unfaithful to his first wife in the 1960s.
But he said he was "always very caring, always honest" in the relationships he went into.
"I was not interested in gratuitous sex and certainly not with underage people," he added.
The actor was asked about the moment in a May 2013 when he was arrested by police at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, following the rape allegations.
"I did break into a sweat," he said."Everything went white. They were reading out the arrest statement but I didn't hear everything they said."
He added: "The full horror of the situation - I could not take it in."
Roache is alleged to have told a New Zealand television interviewer that the victims of abuse brought punishment upon themselves for things they had done in a previous life. He insisted that that was not his belief.
Having sworn an oath on the bible, he said he did not belong to any religion.
"I have knowing," he said. "I have my knowing by which I live and which I know to be correct ... As far as I'm concerned I know re-incarnation takes place."
Roache's children Verity, James and Linus, have been in the public gallery every day of the trial so far.
The actor denies four charges of indecently assaulting girls and two charges of raping a 15-year-old girl in 1967.
The trial continues.
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