UK & World News

  • 31 January 2014, 23:17

William Roache Sex Trial 'Infected' By Savile

Coronation Street actor William Roache has been the victim of an investigation "infected" by the Jimmy Savile case, a court has heard.

Louise Blackwell QC said the case against her 81-year-old client was "nonsense" as she summed up her defence for the jury.

She added that "there are so many deeply and worrying inconsistencies in their (the victims') stories".

The trial has heard from five women over the past three weeks who claim Roache sexually assaulted them when they were 16 or under.

The alleged offences took place between 1967 and 1972 at Granada Studios in Manchester, in his car or at properties he owned.

The actor denies all charges, claiming he has no knowledge of any of the women he is supposed to have assaulted.

"Jimmy Savile is like an elephant in the room," Miss Blackwell said. "You can't ignore it.

"Jimmy Savile has affected, in fact, infected this trial and investigation of these offences.

"We submit to you everything you have seen in this case, that in the post-Jimmy Savile crisis of conscience, when someone makes an allegation against a celebrity, that a fair investigation does not take place.

"In the post-Jimmy Savile era, once someone makes an allegation, it's got to go to court, no sense will prevail, it has to go to court."

Roache, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, denies two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault.

Miss Blackwell revisited the evidence of each prosecution witness to highlight "contradictions and inconsistencies".

The first woman to come forward was unsure whether she was 14 or 15 when she lost her virginity during an alleged assault by Roache.

"You never breathed a word, even to your best friend at school?" Miss Blackwell said to the jury.

"How many women would not remember exactly how old they were when they lost their virginity?

"We submit to you that's the sort of thing that happens in a young woman's life that she has real clarity about.

"It's not just the first experience of sex, but it was horrid and you were raped.

"We say, it's just not possible you don't know how old you were.

"It totally lacks sense and credibility."

Miss Blackwell reminded jurors the same woman claimed she was raped for a second time by Roache.

"Does this all have the ring of truth to you?" Miss Blackwell asked the jury.

"You would not put yourself in that situation. It is, we submit, absolutely unbelievable."

The jury has heard glowing testimonies from some of Roache's co-stars on Coronation Street.

Miss Blackwell continued: "What the prosecution say is that for some weird reason between 1965 and 1972, for no discernible reason, Mr Roache departed from his usual character and behaviour and became a young woman-snatcher, a risk-taker, taking people into toilets.

"Then as soon as this madness is visited upon him, it passes.

"It's nonsense, it just doesn't happen in the real world.

"An expression, ladies and gentlemen: a leopard doesn't change its spots.

"How do you hide that and completely stop it for the next 42 years from 1972? Well, you don't."

She added: "Where has this risk-taking libido gone to? Well, it's never been there.

"There's not a shred of evidence anywhere else in Mr Roache's life that he was this risk-taking predator."

The jury has now been sent home and will return on Monday to hear the judge's summing up before considering their verdict.

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