'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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future