Coronation Street actor Bill Roache has strenuously denied raping a 15 year-old girl in the 1960s, stating that he was “deeply horrified” by the allegations. Roache, 81, released a statement in reaction to being arrested on Wednesday and charged with two counts of rape in Haslingden, Lancashire, between April and July 1967.
The actor, famous for playing Ken Barlow in Corrie since it began in 1960, said: “I am astounded and deeply horrified by the extraordinary events of the last 24 hours.”
“I strenuously deny the allegations and will now focus my full attention on fighting to preserve my innocence in the challenging times ahead. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all those people who have offered me their support and good wishes at this difficult time.”
He was charged by Lancashire Police following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who said it has been reviewing evidence since 1 March. Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West, Nazir Afzal said: “Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Roache to be charged with two offences of rape relating to a girl, aged 15, in 1967.”
An ITV spokesperson has since confirmed to RadioTimes.com that “Bill Roache will not be appearing in Coronation Street until legal proceedings are concluded.”
The actor’s arrest and charges are not connected to the ongoing Operation Yewtree investigations which was established in the aftermath of Jimmy Savile revelations, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed.
Roache will appear at Preston Magistrates’ Court on May 14.