Roache 'has no memory' of accusers

Published Tuesday, 28 January 2014
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Coronation Street actor William Roache has "no memory" of being in the company of any of his accusers, a court has heard.

Roache 'has no memory' of accusers
Coronation Street actor William Roache. (© Getty)

The 81-year-old gave evidence at Preston Crown Court on Tuesday in his trial for alleged sex offences.

The actor told the jury he is not guilty of the charges put against him, which include two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault involving five complainants aged 16 and under.

The alleged incidents are said to have taken place on dates between 1965 and 1971.

Louise Blackwell QC, defending, asked Roache: "Have you committed any of the offences with which you have been charged?"

"No I have not," Roache replied.

Miss Blackwell continued: "Do you have any memory of being in the company of any of the people that have made the allegations against you?"

"No, not one of them," Roache replied.

Miss Blackwell later went on to explore more about his working life on Coronation Street at Granada studios in Manchester in the mid to late-60s - when the offences are alleged to have been committed.

Roache confirmed that fans would be outside the studio when the actors arrived because they knew what time they were due in.

He said no-one apart from those working at Granada would be allowed inside the studio while filming.

It is not in my nature to do that sort of thing.

William Roache

He added the same applied to his dressing room as well as the surrounding corridors which were "busy".

Some of the alleged indecent assaults are said to have occurred in toilets at Granada close to Roache's dressing room.

Other assaults are said to have taken place in his car or at property he owned.

But the defendant said the dressing room would be locked if he was in the studio filming and the toilets in question at the studios were in "constant use".

And Roache said members of the public were not simply allowed in via actors because of security at Granada.

"It was so much going on, so many big productions happened, including ours, that security was very strict and people were not allowed in," Roache said.

Miss Blackwell said: "Did you ever take a girl into the toilets as described and commit an indecent assault on her?"

Roache replied: "No, definitely not. Those toilets were in constant use, constant use."

Miss Blackwell: "When you were leaving the studio, do you remember specifically giving autographs yourself and inviting one of those people into your car?"

Roache replied: "I remember giving autographs, that was a regular feature. But no, I never gave anyone a lift in my car other than people I knew."

I didn't want anybody in (my) dressing room. I needed to concentrate totally on lines and focus on what I needed to do."

William Roache

The actor was asked about the letter and signed photograph he sent to one of the complainants in June 1965 - shortly after the woman said he had sexually assaulted her aged 14 at Granada Studios.

He said it was "absolutely normal" that he sent her a photograph and wrote: "Love to (the alleged victim), William Roache (Ken Barlow).

The letter went on to state he was away for three weeks but would like a letter 'waiting for me when I get back'.

It added that he wanted her to "tell me more" when she returned to school.

Roache explained: "I used to like to personalise letters and obviously she had referred to something she had done at school here."

Miss Blackwell asked: "Did you write that letter with the intention of having personal face-to-face contact with her?"

"No, absolutely not," he replied.

Miss Blackwell asked him: "Did you then have an interest in girls under the age of 16?"

Roache said: "No, absolutely not."

Roache said he had no recollection of a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by him in the gent's toilets at Granada.

Miss Blackwell asked: "Did you ever go into a toilet on the studio floor, or anywhere else, with (the alleged victim) and indecently assault her?"

"No I did not," he said. "It is not in my nature to do that sort of thing and those toilets were in very frequent use."

Miss Blackwell put the allegations of the rape of a girl at a property he owned in Lancashire, which Roache denied.

Asked if he raped the same girl at a different property later the same year, he replied: "Absolutely not."

The trial continues.

© UTV News
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