Coronation Street star Bill Roache strenuously denies allegations he raped underage girl in 1967 - Crime - UK - The Independent

Coronation Street star Bill Roache strenuously denies allegations he raped underage girl in 1967

Roache, 81, was arrested at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire and was interviewed by police late into yesterday evening

The Coronation Street star Bill Roache today strenuously denied two historic rape allegations relating to an underage girl and said he was horrified by the events of the last twenty-four hours.

Roache, 81, was arrested at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, and was interviewed by police late into yesterday evening.

In a statement issued by his lawyers today, he said: "I am astounded and deeply horrified by the extraordinary events of the last twenty-four hours." 

"I strenuously deny the allegations and will now focus my full attention on fighting to preserve my innocence in the challenging times ahead."

"I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all those people who have offered me their support and good wishes at this difficult time."

The Crown Prosecution Service has said he will face two charges of rape, and he will appear at Preston Magistrates’ Court on 14 May.

Roache, awarded an MBE in 2001, faces two allegations of raping the girl in Lancashire 46 years ago.

A statement from Lancashire Police said: "The offences are alleged to have been committed in Haslingden between April and July 1967 and to involve a girl aged 15 years."

"We have been reviewing evidence and providing early investigative advice to Lancashire Police since 1 March 2013.

"Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Roache to be charged with two offences of rape relating to a girl, aged 15, in 1967."

Roache - the world's longest-serving soap actor - will not appear in the show while investigations continue.

An ITV spokesman said last night: "Bill Roache will not be appearing in Coronation Street until legal proceedings are concluded."

Roache, wearing a dark pullover, checked shirt and jacket, returned to his home last night, around 14 hours after his initial arrest, in a car driven by his solicitor.

Roache collected an award from Guinness World Records in 2010 for his long service in Coronation Street, having joined in 1960 and appearing regularly ever since.

Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said: "This decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and our guidance for prosecutors on sexual offences.

"Mr Roache has a right to a fair trial and it is therefore very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial. For these reasons, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further."

Life and Style
tech
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week