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Michael Le Vell child rape charge: ITV bosses pull Kevin Webster Coronation Street storylines over sex abuse claims

By Dean Wilkins

Long-serving Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell, who plays Kevin Webster in the popular Manchester soap, will not appear in any more shows after being charged with raping a child.

The 48-year-old, real name Michael Turner, was charged by Greater Manchester Police after lawyers reviewed evidence of sex abuse claims made against him in September 2011.

The original case was dropped three months later, but the Crown Prosecution Service have now put forward a revised case and Le Vell has been charged with 19 offences – including raping a child, indecently assaulting a child and sexual activity with a child.

Le Vell is due to appear in a magistrates court in two weeks’ time and ITV bosses confirmed that any of his appearances in future episodes would be pulled as the investigation continues.

An ITV spokesman said: “Given the serious nature of these charges, Michael Le Vell will not be appearing in Coronation Street pending the outcome of legal proceedings. It would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time.”

Le Vell’s character Kevin Webster is a key feature of one of the show’s biggest storylines at the moment – as on-screen friend Tyrone Duckworth faces allegations of domestic abuse.

A GMP spokesman said: “A man has been charged with 19 child sex offences. Michael Turner, of Byrom Street, Hale, has been charged with 19 offences including raping a child, indecently assaulting a child and sexual activity with a child.

“He is due to appear at Manchester Magistrates’ (Court) on Wednesday February 27. The charges, which were authorised by the CPS following a review of evidence, relate to offences against a child between 2001 and 2010.”

Alison Levitt, QC, who is principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions, had studied the evidence put against the father-of-two.

“I have very carefully reviewed the evidence in this case and I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Michael Robert Turner with a number of sexual offences,” she said.

“I have authorised Greater Manchester Police to charge Mr Turner with 19 offences, including rape of a child. Mr Turner has now been charged with criminal offences and has a right to a fair trial. As proceedings are now active, it would be inappropriate to say anything further at this stage.”

Le Vell first appeared in Weatherfield in 1983 and has become one of the show’s biggest stars since playing loveable car mechanic Webster.

Picture courtesy of itv.com, with thanks.

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