Coronation Street star William Roache to “vigorously protest his innocence”

The 81-year-old actor has appeared this morning at Preston Magistrates' Court charged with five counts of indecent assault

Coronation Street actor William Roache has appeared this morning at Preston Magistrates’ Court accused of indecently assaulting four girls aged between 11 or 12 and 16 between the years of 1965 and 1968. The assaults are alleged to have been committed in the Manchester area.

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Speaking outside the court, Mr Roache’s laywer Brian Russell gave a statement to the awaiting press as regards the new charges: “Yesterday Mr Roache was interviewed at length in the police station and, as you know, was then charged with five offences of indecent assault. These allegations arose out of the publicity that was generated when Mr Roache was interviewed on the first of May for offences of rape.

“So, during two lengthy police interviews, Mr Roache has fully cooperated with all the questions that the police have had for him in relation to these matters. Today, we expect those cases to be transferred to the crown court and there’ll be another appearance of a short nature on Monday.

“We expect that later this year, or possibly earlier next year, a jury will be asked to consider whether Mr Roache is guilty or not guilty of those charges. Mr Roache looks forward to standing before that jury where he will vigorously protest his innocence against what he regards as deeply upsetting allegations made against him. Ladies and gentlemen, I can’t go into any more detail. It would be inappropriate at this stage.”

The actor was charged last month with two counts of rape of a 15-year-old in 1967. At the time, he issued a statement saying he “strenuously” denied the allegations.

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ITV have previously stated that Mr Roache, who has played Ken Barlow on Coronation Street since its first episode in 1960, will not be appearing in the programme while legal proceedings are continuing.