Published Tuesday, 10 September 2013
Corrie actor Michael Le Vell hugged by his sister Sue outside the court. (© PA)
The actor, best known for portraying mechanic Kevin Webster in the soap, was cleared of 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.
A jury of eight women and four men took just five hours to deliver the not guilty verdict at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday.
Le Vell mouthed "thank you" to the jury and raised his hand to them after he was cleared of each charge.
He held his head up as the male foreman began giving the verdicts.
On the fourth count of not guilty he nodded his head in agreement with them.
His brother and sisters, who sat in the public gallery, were in tears as the verdicts were delivered.
One man shouted "Get in" when the last was read out.
Le Vell looked round in confusion before he left the dock and was hugged by a supporter.
It's a big weight off everyone's shoulders
Michael Le Vell
Cries of relief were then heard as he left the courtroom a free man, with his family members.
Under his real name of Michael Turner, the 48-year-old maintained his innocence throughout the trial, telling police the girl's claims were "an absolute pack of lies" and the jury that he was "fighting for his life".
His accuser, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was not in court to hear the verdicts but the "bubbly, lovely, naive" youngster had earlier sobbed as she claimed Le Vell raped her as she clutched a teddy bear.
Alisdair Williamson, defending said the case was "a prosecution by cliche" - decrying how much had been made of Le Vell's "demons" - his drinking and one-night stands.
He said the defendant in the witness box was clearly a "scared and frightened" innocent man accused of "the most unbelievable and terrible thing".
Leaving court following the verdict, Le Vell said: "We're all delighted obviously.
"It's a big weight off everyone's shoulders and I'd just like to thank my fantastic legal team...my family for their support, security, and I'd like to thank ITV for their continued support throughout this traumatic time for all of us."
"And I might go and have a drink now."
It is for the jury to determine whether a defendant is guilty or not and we of course respect the verdicts they have reached today.
Crown Prosecution Service
Asked when he would return to Coronation Street, he said: "I might have a holiday first.
"I'll have to go and have a chat with my boss."
Le Vell did not appear in any episodes of the soap during the legal proceedings.
A Coronation Street spokeswoman said: "We are looking forward to meeting with Michael to discuss his return to the programme."
Following Tuesday's verdicts the Crown Prosecution Service released a statement: "This case was reviewed in great detail, and the evidence subject to careful scrutiny before a decision was taken to prosecute.
"On the basis of the reviews the CPS concluded that there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.
"As these were very serious allegations of child sexual abuse it therefore followed that it was in the public interest to place that evidence before a jury at court.
"Whilst the CPS needs to consider if a conviction is realistic, the jury needs to be sure that the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
"The jury have had an opportunity over the course of the trial to hear and fully consider both the prosecution and the defence cases."
© UTV News