Updated: Saturday, 25th January 2020 @ 8:25am

‘Deeply horrified’ Coronation Street actor Bill Roache vows to fight rape charge – but still cut from show

‘Deeply horrified’ Coronation Street actor Bill Roache vows to fight rape charge – but still cut from show

By Glen Keogh

Ken Barlow actor Bill Roache ‘strenuously denies’ the allegations made against him after her was charged with the rape of a 15-year-old girl in 1967.

The 81-year-old, who is the world’s longest serving soap actor, released a statement this afternoon in the wake of his arrest.

The Coronation Street star said he strenuously denies the allegations and will now focus his full attention on fighting to preserve his innocence in the challenging times ahead.

"I am astounded and deeply horrified by the extraordinary events of the last 24 hours,” he said.

"I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all those people who have offered me their support and good wishes at this difficult time."

Roach, who has played Ken Barlow in the show since its launch in 1960, was arrested at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire yesterday.

He will not appear in any episodes of Coronation Street while investigations continue, and it is believed he will be edited from Friday’s show in the wake of the allegations.

Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West, said: "We have carefully considered all the evidence gathered by Lancashire Police in relation to William Roache following allegations of rape.

"We have been reviewing evidence and providing early investigative advice to Lancashire Police since 1 March 2013.

"Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Roache to be charged with two offences of rape relating to a girl, aged 15, in 1967."

Roache will appear at Preston Magistrates' Court on May 14.

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