Coronation Street stars give evidence in William Roache trial

Helen Worth

Anne Kirkbride

Chris Gascoyne

First published in News
Last updated

ACTORS from Coronation Street have arrived to give evidence in the trial of fellow star William Roache, who is accused of a string of sexual offences.

Anne Kirkbride, who as Deirdre Barlow is on-screen wife to Roache's character Ken Barlow, Chris Gascoyne - his son Peter Barlow in the ITV soap - and actress Helen Worth, who plays Gail Platt, are expected to give evidence in Roache's defence.

Roache, 81, denies two counts of raping a 15-year-old girl in east Lancashire in 1967, and four indecent assaults involving four girls aged between 11 or 12 and 16 in the Manchester area in 1965 and 1968.

On Monday he was cleared of one of the seven historic sex allegations against him when the judge ordered the jury to return a not guilty verdict on a single count of indecent assault.

Yesterday Roache, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, categorically denied committing any of the offences.

He told a jury at Preston Crown Court that he did not remember meeting any of the people who made allegations against him, and denied that he was a man "willing to take sexual risks" during the 1960s.

Roache admitted cheating on his first wife Anna Cropper, but said he was "not interested in gratuitous sex ,and certainly not with under-age people".

He told the court: "I have no interest in people under age and I have no interest in imposing myself on people."

ITV employee John Friend Newman told the jury he had worked as a floor manager on Coronation Street since 1979.

He said his role has been to control the studio, the filming, access and "all aspects of discipline within the studio realms".

Members of the public were not allowed without permission inside the building in Quay Street, Manchester.

All visitors, including family members of the soap's cast, would have to ask floor managers if they could enter studio areas.

People would be challenged on the corridors if not recognised, he added.

Mr Friend Newman said: "I have challenged the lord mayor of Manchester. I actually had him removed from the building."

He said he had never encountered a guest pass system to get into the building.

Mr Friend Newman confirmed he had no connection with Granada Studios in the 1960s and could not comment about access to the set around that time.

One of the alleged victims claims Roache groped her in a dressing room, while two others say he sexually assaulted them in studio toilets.

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