DCSIMG

ROACHE TRIAL: rape ‘against my nature’

William Roache

William Roache

Ilkeston-born Coronation Street star William Roache told detectives it was “against my nature” to commit rape, a jury at Preston Crown Court has heard.

Roache, 81, who plays Ken Barlow in the soap, is facing two counts of rape and five counts of indecent assault — allegations he pleads not guilty to.

The court heard he said he was “a very peaceful person” who would “never do anything like that”.

The actor was arrested and cautioned at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, on the morning of May 1 last year, the court was told.

He was told he had been accused of raping a 15-year-old girl at his former home in Lancashire in 1967.

When the officer cautioned him, Roache replied: “I’m absolutely surprised and amazed.”

The court heard the actor appeared visibly shocked and “consideration was given to his welfare” as he was allowed to sit down and have a drink of water.

He was then taken in an unmarked vehicle to a police station where the circumstances of the allegations were outlined. In the presence of his solicitor, he was told the reason for his arrest and his legal rights.

The interviewing detective said the complainant claimed she had been raped in two different properties by Roache.

“In response to that, anything to say?” asked Detective Constable Darren Irving.

“Well, I totally deny that,” he replied. “I deny that ever took place.”

Roache said he did not recognise the name or maiden name of his accuser.

He said he was not engaged in sexual activity with girls around the age of 15 while living in the area.

The detective asked: “During that period, Bill, did you have any kind of relationship with any young girls?”

“No,” replied Roache.

“I don’t want to insult your intelligence,” continued the detective, “you are an intelligent man, Bill. What is your understanding of rape?”

He answered: “Having sexual intercourse with someone who is rejecting, who doesn’t want to have it.”

Roache added: “It’s against my nature. I am a very peaceful person. I would never do anything like that.”

Det Con Irving asked: “Any problems with your memory, Bill?”

“This is a long time ago ... but my memory is pretty good,” he said.

“Definitely did not happen?” continued the officer.

“It did not happen because I would have remembered if it had,” he replied.

Asked whether he could remember if any young girls would “come on to you”, he said women would but young girls were just “excited” children. Roache said there may have been a “flirty comment” in getting an autograph “but not in a sustained way”.

The detective asked: “Can you think of any reason why this girl would lie to the police about what had happened?”

Roache replied: “No. People nowadays ... it is happening quite a lot ... some people want a bit of sensation, a bit of publicity.”

He said again he was a “peaceful person” and “gentle” and did not like “aggravation of any sort”.

Roache was later charged with two counts of rape and the publicity that followed led to four women coming forward to say he indecently assaulted them.

He denies all the allegations involving the five complainants who were aged 16 and under on dates between 1965 and 1971.

The trial is continuing.

 

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