British actor William Roache, who plays the character of
Ken Barlow in the soap opera Coronation Street, leaves
after being cleared of all charges at Preston Crown Court.
Coronation Street veteran William Roache was cleared
today of historic rape and indecent assault charges and said in
a statement afterwards: "there are no winners."
Roache, 81, who has played Ken Barlow in the world's
longest-runing soap since it began in 1960, had pleaded not
guilty to two counts of raping a 15-year-old girl in 1967 and
four counts of indecent assault involving four girls aged 11
to 16 in Manchester in the late 1960s.
He was one of several ageing celebrities to have been accused
of historic sex crimes in Britain after revelations that the
late BBC TV presenter Jimmy Savile had been a prolific
predatory sex offender sparked a widespread police
Roache's arrest was not directly related to the Savile
investigations, which have led to 14 arrests and charges
against four people including Australian entertainer Rolf
Harris, former BBC Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis, celebrity
publicist Max Clifford and former BBC chauffeur David Smith.
During the three-week trial at Preston Crown Court, Roache
had denied knowing any of his accusers. Several of his
co-stars in the ITV soap had testified as character witnesses
on his behalf.
Surrounded by members of his family after the verdict, he
thanked his supporters and said: "In these situations there
are no winners and I think we should all be much kinder to