Coronation Street's Michael Le Vell pleads 'Not guilty' 19 times to series of child sex charges

 

Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell denied a series of child sex offences when he appeared in court today.

The star, who plays car mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV soap, answered "Not guilty" 19 times in a clear, strong voice as each of the individual charges were put to him by the clerk during the brief hearing at Manchester Crown Court.

The 48-year-old is charged under his real name of Michael Turner with 19 offences in all, 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.

Today's hearing was for the defendant to enter his pleas and arrange administrative matters for a forthcoming trial later this year.

Le Vell, from Hale, Cheshire, was first arrested in September 2011 and questioned over child sex allegations but the matter was later dropped.

However 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.

ITV has said he will not be appearing in any further episodes of the soap pending the outcome of legal proceedings. He is expected to go on trial in September.

PA