Michael Le Vell not guilty of child sex offencesTuesday 10 September 2013 22.01
Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell has been cleared of child sex abuse charges and walked from court a free man.
The actor, 48, who enjoyed a "luxury, charmed life", had maintained his innocence throughout and was acquitted of 12 serious child sex offences.
He heard the foreman of the jury deliver the not guilty verdicts to a hushed and packed courtroom at the end of an eight-day trial at Manchester Crown Court.
His accuser, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was not in court to hear the verdicts.
She had earlier sobbed as she claimed Mr Le Vell, known to millions of Coronation Street fans as the Kevin Webster, raped her as she clutched a teddy bear.
Her claims were dismissed by the jury after being described in court as "inconsistent, incoherent and unbelievable".
Alisdair Williamson, defending, said the case was "a prosecution by cliché".
He criticised how much had been made of Mr Le Vell's "demons" - his drinking and one-night stands.
He said the defendant in the witness box was clearly a "scared and frightened" innocent man accused of "the most unbelievable and terrible thing".
The actor, from Hale, Cheshire, who has been in the ITV soap for 30 years, faced 12 charges in all - five counts of rape, three of indecent assault, two counts of sexual activity with a child and two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.
Mr Le Vell, on trial under his real name of Michael Turner, had maintained his innocence throughout, telling police the girl's claims were "an absolute pack of lies" and the jury that he was "fighting for his life".