Roache tells court of Ilkeston childhood

Coronation Street actor William Roache
Coronation Street actor William Roache

Ilkeston born Coronation Street actor William Roache has been giving evidence from the witness box in Preston Crown Court.

He took to the stand after one of the charges against him was dropped on Monda and spoke about his childhood and schooling in Ilkeston.

81-year-old Roache, who has played Ken Barlow since the soap opera started in 1960 claims he has never met any of the women who claim to have been indecently assaulted by the actor.

Roache has pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault involving five complainants aged 16 and under on dates between 1965 and 1971.

Louise Blackwell QC, defending Roache, asked him: “Have you committed any of the offences with which you are charged?”

To which the actor replied: “No.”

Miss Blackwell QC continued: “Do you have any memory of being in the company of any of these people who have made the allegations against you?”

Roache replied: “No. Not one of them.”

He went on to tell the court that he has an intrest in “sixth sense and mysticism” which may stem from his early education at a Rudolph Steiner school, where the educational philosophy focused on creativity and had no discipline.

He told the court that his grandfather had donated land to the school and apeaking about Mr Steiner, he said: “He had an interesting philosophy about education, that school should be a place of fun.

“Handcrafts, dancing, painting, there was no discipline.”

The son of an Ilkeston doctor said that growing up he felt an “obligation” to follow generations of his family who had gone into the medical profession but he had a “burning” desire to act.

He explained: “My mother had always been a keen amateur actress.

“She used to direct the amateur dramatic society in Ilkeston.”

One of the charges Roache originally faced was dropped on Monday when the judge in the case, Mr Justice Holroyde, told the jury: “In relation to that episode the witness was not giving evidence that it did happen, she was giving evidence that she was thinking it did happen and that is not a sufficient evidential basis for the conviction of an offence.”

The case continues.