The jury in the trial of Coronation Street's Michael Le Vell has been told it must decide if the alleged victim is telling the truth or has set out to "quite literally destroy the life'' of the British actor.

The eight women and four male jurors were sent out to consider their verdicts after being told by Judge Michael Henshell that their assessment of the alleged victim is "critical in this case''.

Le Vell, 48, who has played garage mechanic Kevin Webster in the British soap for 30 years, is accused of sexually assaulting and raping the youngster, who can't be named for legal reasons.

The actor, a father of two, sat listening to final legal submissions as his family members watched from the public gallery beside press benches packed with reporters at Manchester Crown Court.


An upstairs public gallery was also filled with members of the public awaiting the outcome of the week-long trial.

Le Vell, being tried under his real name of Michael Turner, denies 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.

The jury was sent home for the evening and will return on Tuesday morning to resume its deliberations.

- PA