Bill Roache trial: Jury retires to consider verdict on Coronation Street star sex attack allegations

The 81-year-old stands accused of rapes and indecent assaults on five women in the 1960s and 70s

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The Independent Online

The jury in the trial of Coronation Street star Bill Roache has retired to consider its verdicts on six charges of rape and indecent assault.

The 81-year-old, who plays Ken Barlow in the long-running ITV soap, stands accused of sexually abusing five young girls in the 1960s and 70s.

Prosecuting, Anne Whyte QC described Roache as then being a young man with “looks, fame and appetite” who had the “motivation and the opportunity to behave improperly”.

Before they retired today, she told the jury of eight women and four men that “decades of silence” had followed the alleged offence, but that times had now changed.

Summing up Roache’s defence, Louise Blackwell QC described the case against her client as “nonsense”, and said the trial had been haunted by the “spectre” of Jimmy Savile.

Roache, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, is accused of two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault on various dates between 1965 and 1972.

His trial at Preston Crown Court, now in its fourth week, has heard from five women who claim he sexually assaulted them when they were 16 or under, either at Granada Studios in Manchester, in his car or at properties he owned.

Roache has denied all the offences, saying he did not even know any of his accusers and had never had a sexual interest in under-age girls.