Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell to face child sex trial in September

 

Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell will stand trial in September after being accused of child sex offences.

The star, who plays car mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV soap, made his first appearance at Manchester Crown Court today under his real name of Michael Turner.

The 48-year-old is charged with 19 offences including six counts of raping a child, six allegations of indecently assaulting a child and seven counts of sexual activity with a child.

The alleged offences relate to one complainant and all took place between 2001 and 2010.

During today's preliminary hearing, which lasted about 10 minutes, Le Vell, wearing a dark pinstripe suit, white shirt and black tie, spoke only to confirm his name.

Six members of his family sat in the public gallery of the packed courtroom.

Le Vell has not yet entered a plea but has stated publicly that he is innocent and will fight the allegations through the courts.

Prosecutor Eleanor Laws told Judge Michael Henshell that a plea hearing will take place on May 17 followed by a two to three-week trial starting on September 2.

Judge Henshell said a September trial date should be fixed and granted the actor bail until the plea hearing, at the same court, in May.

Asked by the judge if he understood, Le Vell nodded and said “Thank you”, before leaving the dock.

As he left court and walked to his car, the star smiled at the large group of photographers and camera crews and joked: “It's an early finish for you lot, innit?”

He made no other comments.

Le Vell was bailed on condition that he surrenders his passport, does not contact named witnesses and does not have unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 14.

Le Vell was arrested in September 2011 and questioned over alleged child sex offences, but the matter was later dropped.

In January, the Crown Prosecution Service said it was in the public interest to charge him with the current offences following a review of evidence.

The father of two, originally from Manchester, is one of TV's most famous faces after playing garage owner and mechanic Webster for the past 30 years.

He began his showbusiness career in the Oldham Theatre Workshop after taking an interest in amateur dramatics while at school.

Le Vell first joined Coronation Street in 1983 and quickly endeared himself to fans, who have followed the trials and tribulations of Kevin, from Brian Tilsley's apprentice mechanic through to his stormy marriage to Sally, and fathering two girls, Rosie and Sophie, as well as a son, Jack, from his affair with Molly Dobbs.

The actor split from his wife, Janette Beverley, last year.

ITV has said he will not be appearing in any further episodes of the soap pending the outcome of legal proceedings.

In a statement following his arrest, Le Vell, from Altrincham, Greater Manchester, said he was innocent of the charges and intended to “fight them vigorously”.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor