'Very sorry': Coronation Street actor Bill Roache apologises after linking child abuse to 'previous lives' of victims

 

Coronation Street star Bill Roache today said he was "very sorry" over his controversial comments on the victims of paedophiles which seemed to suggest they were being punished for past sins.

Roache, 80, who has played Ken Barlow in the ITV soap for more than 50 years, had told New Zealand's One News that the public should not be judgmental but be "totally forgiving" of people who have committed child sex crimes.

In a statement, the actor today said: "I would like to say that I am very sorry for any offence that has been caused as a result of my comments.

"I would never say that victims of sexual offences are in any way responsible for the abuse they have suffered and I offer my deepest apologies if anything I have said has been misunderstood in this way.

"I had no intention of causing any kind of distress as a result of my interview and I offer my utmost sympathies to anyone affected by sexual offences and paedophilia."

His comments drew stinging criticism from the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac), which called them an insult to abuse victims.

Roache caused outrage with the interview in which the furore around the Jimmy Savile sex abuse revelations were discussed.

Former DJ Savile has now been exposed as one of the country's most prolific paedophiles who may have abused hundreds of children.

Roache said in the interview: "If you accept that you are pure love, and if you know that you are pure love and therefore live that pure love, these things won't happen to you."

Interviewer Garth Bray commented: "To some people that sounds perhaps like you're saying victims bring things on themselves - is that what you're saying?"

Roache replied: "No, not quite, but and yet I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives or whatever."

Roache went on to call for anonymity for all those accused of child sex offences because of the stigma they faced even if innocent.

He said: "Paedophilia is absolutely horrendous. Paedophiles should be sought out, rooted out and dealt with.

"But there's a fringe of people who, particularly pop singers, they have these groupies, these girls, who come, they're sexually active, sexually mature, they don't ask for their birth certificate, they don't know what age they may be.

"But they're certainly not grooming them and exploiting them, but they can be caught in this trap.

"These people are instantly stigmatised, some will be innocent, some will not, but until such time as it's proven there should be anonymity for both."

He added: "If someone has done something wrong, the law will take its course.

"But even so, all of them, whether they are proven guilty or not, we should not be judgmental about anybody, ever.

"We shouldn't go around condemning, unforgiving. We should all be totally forgiving about everything."

Dr Jon Bird, from Napac, condemned Roache's "hippy-dippy" spiritualist beliefs, saying child sex abuse left people with horrific physical and mental scars.

"Abuse is a crime. The rape of a child is an appalling crime and the long-term effects we hear about include suicide," he said.

"There is a whole range of terrible consequences that are life-long.

"This is a real insult, it is horrible. I think a lot of people will be deeply offended by what he said."

The NSPCC described the actor's original comments as "bizarre" and "not helpful for anyone".

Jon Brown, head of the NSPCC's sexual abuse programme, said those words had been "hurtful and demeaning" to people who had already suffered horrendous experiences.

He said: "We should be concentrating on helping the thousands of children sexually abused every year who need therapy to re-build their lives."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

    Stolen youth

    Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
    Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

    Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

    He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
    Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

    Made by Versace, designed by her children

    Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
    Anyone for pulled chicken?

    Pulling chicks

    Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband