Co-star called Roache 'cockroach', court hears

British actor William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in television drama Coronation Street, arrives at Preston Crown Court ahead of his rape trial. Photo / AFP
British actor William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in television drama Coronation Street, arrives at Preston Crown Court ahead of his rape trial. Photo / AFP

Coronation Street star William Roache was called a "cockroach" by a fellow cast member, a UK court has heard.

And one of his alleged sex assault victims was warned by Peter Adamson, who played Len Fairclough in the soap, that he would "lead you astray", the jury heard.

The witness claims Roache indecently assaulted her when she was about 14 after he arranged passes for herself and her younger sister on a visit to Granada Studios in Manchester.

She told the jury at Preston Crown Court last week that Roache groped her in a room after being led past the Rovers Return pub on the set.

On Monday, she was cross-examined by the defendant's lawyer, Louise Blackwell QC, and claimed that Adamson made the "cockroach" remark about the actor while she was at the studios.

"It was Len Fairclough that made the comment," she said.

"Because when he said it he looked directly at him and he looked at us and said 'You want to keep your eye on him, he will lead you astray' and he called him 'cockroach'.

"Len Fairclough said that he would lead us astray. He called him a cockroach with a capital C."

Roache, 81, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, denies two counts of rapes and five counts of indecent assault involving five complainants aged 16 and under on dates between 1965 and 1971.

The court heard that the alleged victim and her sister would sit on the steps outside the studio in the summer holidays in the mid to late 1960s, along with other girls and boys who were autograph-hunting.

But on one occasion after being invited inside the studios, Roache, who has played Ken Barlow in the ITV soap for more than 50 years, took her to his dressing room and indecently assaulted her by putting his hands on her breasts and up her skirt.

She told police: "He was like an octopus - hands everywhere."

Challenged about her account of what happened by Blackwell, the witness told the court: "It happened, no matter what you are saying or what your job is, it happened.

"I have no reason to lie, no reason in the world."

Later Blackwell put it to the witness: "Are you even trying to tell the truth here?"

"I'm telling the truth," she replied.

"Why the hell would I put myself through all of this?"

Roache was charged last May with two counts of rape on one alleged victim, with the publicity that following leading to the four other complainants coming forward.

The witness said she felt the incident had been her fault "for being there in the first place".

Her sister claims she was abused by Roache on a separate occasion.

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