William Roache trial: Coronation Street actor told police alleged victims were hoping for a 'moment of fame'

The actor also said that rape is 'against his nature' and he is 'very peaceful'

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The Independent Online

Coronation Street actor William Roache told detectives it was “against [his] nature” to commit rape, a jury has heard.

The 81-year-old said he was “a very peaceful person” who would “never do anything like that,” a sentiment he re-iterated throughout an interview with a detective.

Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in the ITV soap, was arrested and cautioned at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, in May last year, Preston Crown Court was told.

At the time he was told he had been accused of raping a 15-year-old girl at his former home in Lancashire in 1967.

The court heard the actor appeared visibly shocked and “consideration was given to his welfare” as he was allowed to sit down and have a drink of water.

During a police interview he was taken through each of the indecent assault allegations against him, and denied all of the claims.

The interviewing detective said the complainant claimed she had been raped in two different properties by Roache.

“Well, I totally deny that,” he replied. “I deny that ever took place.”

Roache said he did not recognise the name or maiden name of his accuser.

He also said he was not engaged in sexual activity with girls around the age of 15 while living in the area.

“I don't want to insult your intelligence,” continued the detective, “you are an intelligent man, Bill. What is your understanding of rape?”

He answered: “Having sexual intercourse with someone who is rejecting, who doesn't want to have it.”

Roache added: “It's against my nature. I am a very peaceful person. I would never do anything like that.”

Asked whether he could remember if any young girls would “come on to you”, he said women would but young girls were just “excited” children. Roache said there may have been a “flirty comment” in getting an autograph “but not in a sustained way”.

When asked by the detective why a girl might lie about what happened, Roache replied “some people want a bit of publicity” and that “it is happening quite a lot.”

Roache was later charged with two counts of rape and the media coverage that followed led to four women coming forward to say he indecently assaulted them.

He denies all the allegations involving the five complainants who were aged 16 and under on dates between 1965 and 1971.

It is alleged that on the first occasion he showed and followed the girl into a bedroom with a double bed and pushed her on to the bed and raped her.

“This whole incident did not happen as far as I am concerned, I would've remembered it,” Roache said, adding he “absolutely categorically deny knowing her or doing anything with her.”

Details of a second alleged rape on the same victim at a different property some time later were then put to Roache during the interview.

The court heard that Roache said  “it strikes me a little strange” that a girl he is alleged to have raped before would go near him again.

Roache said: “The climate of what's happening at the moment, a lot of people are coming out accusing celebrities, for various reasons, and I don't know what her motivation is.

”I can only surmise there's some hope of selling articles to the newspaper, a moment of fame. I don't know what the motivation would be and I'm absolutely horrified at the whole thing.”

He added girls aged 11 to 16 “hold no interest of a sexual nature for me at all”.

He denied claims made by a woman who said she thought she was 14 when Roache grabbed her by the arm and forced her to perfom a sex act on him in the men’s toilets at Granada Studios in Manchester.

The actor added that he had no recollection of asking her to leave her name and address so he could write to her.

The jury has been shown a letter and signed photograph that were delivered to the complainant.

Roache explained to police: “I mean, I have written letters like that. That was quite a common thing for me to write.”

The woman alleges that on another occasion later the same year she accepted a lift home by Roache from Granada studios. Roache denied he gave lifts to fans.

Asked about the nature of relationships between men and women in the 1960s, he said: “It was a different time that people could be far more tactile, not in a sexual way.”

The final two allegations of indecent assault were put to Roache, made by two sisters, who were young autograph-hunters at the time.

He denied any knowledge of such an incidents with the sisters and denied any sexual encounter, either consensual or non-consensual, with any young girl.

Roache was asked again why the complainants, who, apart from the sisters, do not know each other, would make such allegations, some giving similar stories of what happened.

The defendant replied: “Look, I can only conjecture, I can guess and make all sorts of comments, only they know. It didn't happen.”

“Youngsters have no attraction to me at all.

"These allegations are not nice, not pleasant and I don't know why they have come forward," he said.

The case continues.