Updated: Thursday, 27th February 2020 @ 4:36pm

Coronation Street's Ken Barlow actor Bill Roache ‘vigorously protests innocence’ at five child sex charges

Coronation Street's Ken Barlow actor Bill Roache ‘vigorously protests innocence’ at five child sex charges

By Glen Keogh

Bill Roache will ‘vigourously protest his innocence’ of ‘deeply upsetting’ child sex charges, his lawyer said outside Preston Magistrates’ Court this morning.

The world’s longest serving soap actor arrived at a preliminary hearing to face fresh five fresh historic sexual offence charges – one relating to a girl possibly as young as 11.

The allegations come in the wake of his arrest last month for two offences of rape concerning a 15-year-old girl in the 1960s.

Lawyer Brian Russell said: “Yesterday Mr Roache was interviewed at length at the police station and, as you know, was then charged with five offences of indecent assault.

"These allegations arose out of the publicity that was generated when Mr Roache was interviewed on May 1 for offences of rape.

"So during two lengthy police interviews Mr Roache has fully co-operated with all the questions that the police have had for him in relation to these matters.

"We expect that later this year, or possibly early next year, a jury will be asked to consider whether Mr Roache is guilty or not guilty of those charges.

"Mr Roache looks forward to standing before that jury where he will vigorously protest his innocence against what he regards as deeply upsetting allegations made against him.”

Coronation Street actor Roache, 81, who has played Ken Barlow since the show’s first episode in 1960 said he ‘strenuously denied’ the original rape allegations in a statement released following his initial arrest.

Roache was bailed to appear at Preston Crown Court on Monday, when he is due to face an earlier charge of raping a 15-year-old girl in 1967.

The fresh charges put to Roache, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, are two indecent assaults in relation to a 14-year-old girl and one to a 16-year-old girl in 1965.

As well as one indecent assault in relation to a girl aged 13 or 14 in 1968 and one indecent assault in relation to a girl aged 11 or 12 in the same year.

Image courtesy of ITV via ITV News Player, with thanks.

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