Bill Roache trial hears alleged victim blamed herself

Thursday 16 January 2014 18.34
Coronation Street actor Bill Roache denies all charges
Coronation Street actor Bill Roache denies all charges

A woman allegedly raped by Coronation Street actor William Roache kept quiet for decades because she blamed herself, a court has heard.

She described how she was a "gullible" teenager – "a kid" – who was raped on two different occasions in 1967 at the actor's then home in Lancashire.

Mr Roache, 81, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, who has played Ken Barlow in the ITV soap for more than 50 years, denies the rapes.

He has also pleaded not guilty to five counts of indecent assault involving four other complainants aged 16 and under.

The alleged offences are said to have occurred between 1965 and 1971.

A jury at Preston Crown Court has been told the woman finally came forward to police last year in the wake of a number of celebrity sex scandals.

In her police interview played to the court, the woman told a female officer: "All these years I have never brought it to anyone's attention. I chose not to say anything.

"I thought I was to blame, especially the second time.

"I was gullible ... I was a kid. I would never have repeated it to anyone."

But by last year, she said, "it has started to bother me because there might be other people that this has happened to".

She continued: "It started where I can't sleep, it is there at the back of my mind all the time."

The woman detailed how in the first alleged assault Mr Roache, who knew her she said, had sex with her with "no warning" in the bedroom of his bungalow.

The court has heard the woman was aged 15 at the time and was a virgin.

The woman said she was raped again later in the year when he again invited her into his home.

"Before I knew it I had been grabbed again," she said.

She said she should not have gone in his home the second time.

The court heard that, at the time of the alleged rapes, Mr Roache's then-wife had recently given birth to the couple's second child.

The witness was then taken through the alleged offences in detail by the officer during the interview, in which she described it as a "horrible, horrible experience".

The female police officer asked her what word she would use to describe her allegations.

The witness replied: "I don't know if you called it rape in them days because I was not pinned down. I was sexually abused."

She said she had recently watched a TV interview Mr Roache gave for Piers Morgan's Life Stories.

"He was talking about the number of women in his life," she said. "He was quite amused by it all.

"It made my skin crawl to be honest. It was just the way he laughed it all off. It was the sort of way he was laughing."

She added: "I always liked him as a person until this happened."

The trial continues and is expected to last three to four weeks.