William Roache trial: Coronation Street actor 'sexually assaulted 14-year-old in toilet and then sent her signed photo'

 

The Coronation Street actor William Roache wrote a letter to a 14-year-old fan after he indecently assaulted her, asking her to reply “when you start school again”, jurors were told.

Preston Crown Court heard the long-serving soap actor, now 81, had forced a girl to perform a sex act on him in the men’s toilets at Granada Studios in Manchester in the summer of 1965 after she had visited the studio with a friend to take part in a children’s talent show.

Speaking from the witness box, the woman now 63, said she met Mr Roache – who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street – in a dressing room before he pulled her into the nearby toilets. She said she had seen Mr Roache in the building and recognised him before ending up in a dressing room with the defendant and other actors.

She told jurors that Mr Roache had subsequently pulled her “roughly” in the direction of the toilets where she was allegedly assaulted. “My main worry was that I was in the gents’ toilets,” she told the court. “I was the one in the wrong place. I was shocked and I didn’t really understand what was going on, but the one thing I thoroughly understood was that I should not have been in the gents’.”

Weeks later, after leaving her address on a dressing room table, she said she received a letter and signed photograph from Mr Roache. It said: “I am enclosing a photo which I hope you like. I am away for three weeks now but I would like a letter from you waiting for me when I get back. Write to me when you start school again and tell me more. Love Bill xx.”

Prosecutor Anne Whyte QC described sending the letter as “a sort of grooming as we nowadays know it”.

The woman said that after receiving the letter she returned to the studios later in the year, telling the court that Mr Roache told her to wait outside and he would pick her up in his car. He later parked near a railway embankment in Stockport and she remembered Mr Roache asking about her age and when she would turn 16, she said.

She added that he also asked her if she had “ever had it in the mouth”. The woman said at the time she would not have understood what he had said. “I had no concept of oral sex at all,” she said.

A second complainant to give evidence said she was aged 16 when she was groped by Mr Roache in the ladies’ toilets at Granada Studios. Describing the alleged incident, she said: “As I went in I suddenly was aware of somebody behind me and I turned round and he was right in my face, absolutely right in front of me. I could not move.”

Mr Roache, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, is accused of taking “advantage of his stardom” to sexually abuse five young girls. He denies five historic counts of indecent assault and two historic counts of rape involving complainants who were aged 16 and under. The offences are alleged to have occurred between 1965 and 1971. The trial continues.

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

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future