One charge dropped against William Roache

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 has been cleared of one of the seven historic sex allegations against him after the prosecution offered no further evidence.

The jury in his rape and indecent assault trial at Preston Crown Court was directed by the judge to return a not guilty verdict on the single count of indecent assault.

The allegation was one of two made by a woman who said she was aged 14 when Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in the ITV soap, twice made her perform a sexual act on him.

Giving evidence, the complainant said the actor first struck in the gents' toilets at Granada Studios in Manchester in the summer of 1965.

Jurors were then shown a letter and signed photograph that Roache, 81, had sent to her after that alleged incident in which he asked to her write back to him when she returned to school.

The woman claimed later that same year she was picked up by the actor from the studios in his Rolls-Royce and they had a conversation of a sexual nature.

She said she thought that she had also been indecently assaulted in his car but she had "no actual memory" of the episode.

The judge in the case, Mr Justice Holroyde, said: "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."

Roache, 81, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, remains on trial over two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault involving the five complainants who were aged 16 and under on dates between 1965 and 1971.

He denies all the charges.

The trial continues.

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