William Roache trial: Coronation Street star 'made woman perform sex act as he drove her home in his Rolls-Royce'


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The Independent Online

A woman allegedly sexually assaulted by Coronation Street actor William Roache said she felt like “a coward” for not going to the police before she did.

The woman claims the actor made her perform a sex act on him while he drove her home in his Rolls-Royce, some time between June 1968 and September 1971.

Jurors at Preston Crown Court heard she contacted the police on 1 May last year, the day that it emerged Mr Roache had been arrested on suspicion of raping a young girl.

During the proceedings she was asked by prosecutor Anne Whyte if the arrest had any effect.

She replied: “She [the other alleged victim] made me feel a coward because she came forward first. She had guts to do it”.

Earlier, in a police interview played to the court, the woman said she was with a friend autograph-hunting outside Granada Studios in Manchester when Mr Roache - who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street - offered them a lift home in his Silver Cloud Rolls Royce.

William Roache: Coronoation Street actor 'sexually abused 14-year-old fan in his Rolls-Royce'

The witness's sister, who is two years older, claimed Mr Roache indecently assaulted her on a separate occasion when she was aged 14, after they were both invited inside the studios by the defendant.

Speaking of the alleged incident in the Rolls-Royce, she said she "froze" after Roache "fumbled with his flies" and she was "absolutely petrified".

"You feel stupid because you had been in that position weeks ago," she said.

"That was the second time I actually met or had dealings with William Roache.

"The first time we went with [my sister]."

After she got out of the Rolls-Royce when she said she was offered half a crown for the bus ride home, she said she told her friend: “God, [name]. Did you see what happened then? I'm sure she said 'Yes'," the woman told the court.

Years later she said she told her husband about the incident, and he urged her to do something about it but she refused.

Asked by the female officer why she had not previously come forward, she answered: "Because I feel intimidated. People think he [Roache] is some kind of super actor and he is so good and so lovely.

"You don't stand a chance if you come forward and if I did go to court," she said.

The officer continued: “How do you feel about it now?”

“I hate him,” the woman said.

Actors William Roache and Anne Reid who play Ken and Valerie Barlow in the English television soap opera 'Coronation Street'.

Giving evidence to Miss Whyte, she said a television interview that Mr Roache had given had “really annoyed her.”

“He said young girls who were going through this, they are being punished from a previous life... something they had done."

Miss Whyte asked the witness if any other comments by the defendant had affected her.

The complainant replied: “He said girls were always hanging around the studios and they were throwing themselves at them... star-struck.

"The girls that we saw were like us. I can never say that I saw any girls throwing themselves at anyone. There were actually boys there as well," she said.

The court has heard that in March 2013 her husband had, without her knowledge, contacted the Sunday Mirror about what she had said about Mr Roache.

Louise Blackwell QC, cross-examining, said to the woman: ”What I am suggesting to you is that this just did not happen with Mr Roache.“

The witness, giving evidence via videolink, said: "It did... it happened. I am just so sorry I have left it so long to come forward."

In tears, she added: ”I know I am telling the truth and the person you are defending knows I am telling the truth.“

Mr Roache, 81, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, denies two counts of rape and five counts of indecent assault involving five complainants aged 16 and under, on dates between 1965 and 1971.