A Coronation Street star raped a young girl as she clutched a teddy bear, telling her that if she told anyone about the abuse "you'll die and the evil will come over you", a court heard yesterday.
The alleged victim of Michael Le Vell, who has played popular mechanic Kevin Webster in the long-running soap since 1983, broke down and wept as she gave evidence at his trial.
In testimony given from behind a curtain, the girl who cannot be named sobbed continually describing being abused from the age of six for nearly a decade in sessions which lasted 10 minutes but which felt like a lifetime.
She told Manchester Crown Court: "I thought I had done something wrong and I could not understand why he was doing it to me I thought there was evil in me, and I thought I was a bad person, and I was not."
Mr Le Vell, 48, whose real name is Michael Turner, was described by the prosecution as a heavy drinker who had sought help for his alcohol problems.
The actor sat slumped forward in the glass-fronted dock, closing his eyes and shaking his head as she gave evidence.
He denies 12 charges which include five counts of rape, three of indecent assault, two incidents of sexual activity with a child and two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity. It was claimed that he sought to reassure his young victim as he abused her, telling her to "keep calm, stay asleep... I'm going to get rid of the evil".
On the first occasion that he raped her it was alleged she clutched one teddy bear while the actor put another teddy bear over her mouth. She said: "I was very scared because it didn't feel right. It felt like I wasn't in my body at the time and I was just watching it".
She suffered nightmares and wet the bed until the age of 12, the court heard. Asked why she did not tell anyone of the abuse, she replied: "Because he told me not to. It was our little secret". On one occasion it was alleged he told her: "Its OK. I'm making the evil stop once and for all now. It'll be fine". On another the victim was left feeling sick after being orally raped, the court was told.
Eleanor Laws QC, prosecuting said the abuse began when Mr Le Vell touched the girl under her clothing.
The police were eventually alerted when she broke down in tears. Mr Le Vell was arrested on 30 September 2011, but the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to proceed with the case.
He was rearrested and charged in February following a review of evidence. The prosecution said he denied all the allegations. He said that she was a fantasist and an attention-seeker, Ms Laws said.
Mr Le Vell, from Hale, Greater Manchester, had confided in another adult about his problems, referring to a secret, it was claimed. He stated that he was unforgivable but would not say what he had done, Ms Laws added.
Judge Michael Henshell warned the jury of eight men and four women: The man on trial is Michael Turner, not the character he plays.
He said he would excuse anyone from serving on the panel if they were fans of the actor. Two women asked to be removed and were replaced by substitute jurors. The trial continues.