Jurors in the child sex trial of Michael Le Vell were told by the defence that the Coronation Street actor was a “drunk, bad husband and inadequate father”, but not a child rapist.
The actor, who has played garage mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV1 soap for 30 years, is accused of sexually assaulting and raping a young girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Le Vell, 48, denies five counts of rape, three of indecent assault, two counts of sexual activity with a child, and two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.
The last day of the high profile trial saw impassioned closing speeches from both the defence and prosecution at Manchester Crown Court.
Eleanor Laws, QC, prosecuting, said of the witness: “What was your reaction to listening to her? Was she a wicked, convincing liar, or did you sit there and listen to it and think she was telling the truth? Because that is all she could do.
Speaking to the jury of eight women and four men, Laws said it was “absurd” to think Le Vell’s alleged victim had come up with “a pack of devious lies” as an act of revenge.
“You saw her as bubbly, lovely, naive, so lovely,” she said. “She was not twisted.”
In response, Alisdair Williams, defending, asked the jury: “Are you going to take a man’s life away from him? Are you going to cast him to the outer darkness of being a child rapist?
Williams mocked the prosecution’s line of attack, saying: “Welcome to the prosecution’s hall of mirrors, where up is down and right is left.”
He said there was “an agonising lack of detail from the witness” and said it was a “strange case of child rape” given there was no evidence of blood or semen or injuries to the alleged victim.
He summarised that the evidence held against Le Vell was: “Inconsistent, incoherent and unbelievable.”
Williams also said there was little context to suggest that Le Vell was a child rapist. He said no child pornography was found on Le Vell's computer, and that no adults Le Vell was in contact with ever called him “odd”, or said that they felt “uneasy” around him.
Summing up the trial, Judge Michael Henshell told the jury before they retired: “Do not allow sympathy to cloud your judgment for either side.”
He recalled that both Le Vell and the witness had been distressed while giving evidence but told the jurors to put this out of their minds. Signs of distress in the witness box were not a reliable guide to the truth, he said.
The court awaits a verdict from the jury.
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