'My dark secrets are one-night stands - not the sexual abuse of a young girl,' claims Michael Le Vell

 

A Coronation Street star told a jury that “little dark secrets” that troubled him were the result of a series of one night stands and cheating on his wife as she underwent chemotherapy not because he had raped a child.

Michael Le Vell, who has played mechanic Kevin Webster for 30 years in the long-running ITV1 soap, repeatedly denied prosecution claims that he had groomed his alleged victim from the age of six.

He told Manchester Crown Court that despite being an alcoholic he had never been so drunk that he had attacked his accuser.

Le Vell, 48, real name Michael Turner, denies 12 child abuse charges including five counts of rape.

Under cross examination on his second day of evidence, the actor admitted he lived a “luxury, charmed life” as a result of his TV job up until his arrest in September 2011.

But he denied an assertion by prosecuting barrister Eleanor Laws QC that he drank because he felt ashamed over his abuse of the child which allegedly continued until her teenage years.

The court has heard that Le Vell confided to another person over secrets and problems in his personal life and is said to have claimed that he had done “something unforgiveable”.

Miss Laws said: “I am going to suggest to you that the secret is not the one-night stands but something far more sinister.”

Le Vell replied: “No. I totally disagree.”

The actor said that his wife allowed him to go out every night and that he drank not because he was ashamed but because it was part of his working class culture

The barrister put it to the star that he was “cossetted” in his job and could “do what you wanted to”.

She said: “I suggest you were finding it difficult to live with yourself,” Ms Laws said. “Once this abuse started, you just could not stop yourself.” She said his abusive behaviour gradually “pushed the limits”.

At one point Miss Laws said to him: “Are you making this up as you go along?”

The trial was adjourned until Monday when the judge will sum up and the jury will be asked to consider their verdict.

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