William Roache ‘raped girl at his home’

Coronation Street actor Bill Roache
Coronation Street actor Bill Roache

A woman allegedly raped by Ilkeston born Coronation Street star 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.

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 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.

“I was a bit shocked,” she said. “There was no warning to anything that would have happened.

“It happened before I realised it. I didn’t know what to do. I was panicking.

“I didn’t have to fight him. He was not aggressive in any way. I remember thinking I just want to get out of here. I just didn’t know what to make of it.”

She added: “I thought it was my fault and I didn’t know why because nothing had taken place before that suggested that anything was going to happen.”

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.

The complainant said she did not see him again until years later when she was a young mother.

He walked past her at a local carnival and said: “Oh hello, I know you don’t I?”

She said that was the last time she had seen the actor.

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.

The case continues.