Coronation Street actor charged with child sex offences

Friday 15 February 2013 22.38
Michael Le Vell was first arrested in September 2011 and questioned over alleged child sex offences, but the matter was later dropped
Michael Le Vell was first arrested in September 2011 and questioned over alleged child sex offences, but the matter was later dropped

Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell, who plays garage boss Kevin Webster in the TV soap, has been charged with child sex offences.

The actor, whose real name is Michael Turner, is accused of 19 sex offences, including raping a child, indecently assaulting a child and sexual activity with a child.

He is due to appear in court in two weeks' time.

ITV has said the actor will not be appearing in any further episodes pending the outcome of legal proceedings.

Mr Le Vell was first arrested in September 2011 and questioned over alleged child sex offences, but the matter was later dropped.

But late last night Greater Manchester Police said the actor, from Hale, Cheshire, had been charged with sex offences against a youngster after a review of evidence by lawyers from the Crown Prosecution Service.

A police spokeswoman said that he is due to appear at Manchester Magistrates Court on 27 February.

"The charges, which were authorised by the CPS following a review of evidence, relate to offences against a child between 2001 and 2010," she added.

Alison Levitt, QC, principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions, reviewed a file of evidence in relation to allegations of sexual offences and looked again at a decision previously made not to prosecute.

Ms Levitt said: "I have very carefully reviewed the evidence in this case and I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Michael Robert Turner with a number of sexual offences.

The father-of-two was not charged with offences after his initial arrest in September 2011 and the investigation was dropped three months later in late December, when the authorities said there would be no further action taken against him as there was not enough evidence to charge him.

At the time the actor said he was "delighted" to have been "completely exonerated", thanked police for their "thorough" investigation and Coronation Street staff and the public for their support.

He vowed to put the allegations behind him and returned to the show after a short break and is now currently involved in some of the soap's main storylines.

The actor split from his wife Janette Beverley last year.