Coronation Street star Bill Roache is looking forward to standing before a jury to ‘vigorously protest his innocence’ of ‘deeply upsetting’ child sex charges, his lawyer has said.
Brian Russell spoke outside Preston Magistrates’ Court as the actor arrived to face new charges linked to allegations made in the wake of publicity surrounding his original arrest last month.
Roache, 81, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, was arrested yesterday morning after attending a police station in Cheshire by appointment.
The new offences are alleged to have been committed in the Manchester area in 1965 and 1968 with the alleged victims aged between 11 or 12 and 16.
After Roache was charged last month with raping a 15-year-old girl in 1967, he issued a statement saying he ‘strenuously’ denied the allegations.
Roache – the world’s longest-serving soap actor – has played Ken Barlow in Coronation Street since its launch, but will not be appearing in the programme until legal proceedings are concluded.
Speaking this morning as they arrived at court, Mr Russell said: “Yesterday Mr Roache was interviewed at length at 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 May 1 for offences of rape.
“So during two lengthy police interviews Mr Roache has fully co-operated with all the questions that the police have had for him in relation to these matters.
“We expect that later this year, or possibly early 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.”
Roache was bailed to appear at Preston Crown Court on Monday, when he is due to face an earlier charge of raping a 15-year-old girl in 1967.