Coronation Street actor William Roache denies rape charges

Monday 02 September 2013 19.33
William Roache formally denied the charges this morning
William Roache formally denied the charges this morning

Coronation Street actor William Roache has pleaded not guilty to committing historic sexual offences against five girls.

The 81-year-old actor formally denied the charges in a hearing at Preston Crown Court in England this morning.

The veteran soap star was arrested at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, in May and charged with two counts of raping a 15-year-old girl in East Lancashire in 1967.

He was later additionally charged with five indecent assaults involving four girls aged between 11 or 12 and 16, allegedly committed in the Manchester area between 1965 and 1968.

Mr Roache entered the dock and confirmed his name to the clerk.

The indictment containing the seven counts was then read out to him and on each allegation he responded with a firm, clear answer of "not guilty".

Mr Roache's trial will begin at Preston Crown Court on 14 January and is scheduled to last four weeks.

He remains on bail with various conditions, including residence, no direct unsupervised contact with anyone under 16 and not to approach named witnesses.

When he was initially charged, Mr Roache said he was "astounded and deeply horrified" by the accusations and vowed to "strenuously deny" the allegations.

The world's longest-serving soap actor, he has played Ken Barlow in the ITV1 soap since its launch, but he will not be appearing in the programme until legal proceedings are concluded.