Coronation Street actor William Roache has admitted he was ‘resigned to going down’ during his recent trial – so much so that he misheard the not guilty verdicts as they came in.

Speaking for the first time since being cleared of rape and indecent assault charges earlier this week, the 81-year-old revealed his ordeal in court, and how he thought the outcome had been very different.

“I didn’t hear the verdict properly. I didn’t hear a couple of ‘nots’,” said the actor, whose hearing was damaged 50 years ago while serving in the British Army.

“I thought I had gone on two, I just heard, ‘Guilty, guilty, guilty’.”

He added: “My family were weeping and it wasn’t until my security man started clapping and said, ‘Get that man out of the dock,’ and the judge said, ‘You may leave the dock,’ that I realised I was a free man.

“In the end, the jury got it right. They were brilliant.”

Roache also revealed that he was convinced he was heading for a conviction even before the verdict was announced.

“The last week was a nightmare, I really thought they’d got me,” he explained. “During summing up, I thought that was it, that was it.”

However, he praised the legal team who supported him, saying: “My QC was absolutely ­brilliant. She challenged the judge over his summing up.

“In the middle of the judge’s ­summing up my barrister called the judge and said ‘I have to make a submission’.

“The judge sent the jury out and my barrister said ‘your summing up is biased’ – it was unprecedented,” he explained.

Roache was cleared of historic sex offences including indecently assaulting four teenage girls and raping a fifth between 1965 and 1972.

He is likely to return to Coronation Street later this year following the verdict.