Roache case ‘infected’ by Savile

The case against Coronation Street’s William Roache is “nonsense” with the trial haunted by the “spectre” of Jimmy Savile, a court heard.

Louise Blackwell QC, defending Roache, poured scorn on the idea that the actor turned from “perfect gentleman” to a sexual predator and back again, she told the jury.

Roache, 81, who plays Ken Barlow in the ITV soap, is accused of using his fame to exploit “starstruck” youngsters in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

His trial heard from five women who claim he sexually assaulted them when they were 16 or under, either at Granada Studios in Manchester, in his car or at properties he owned between 1967 and 1972.

He denies all the charges and has told the jury at Preston Crown Court he has no knowledge of any of the women making the claims.

In final submissions to the jury, Ms Blackwell said: “Jimmy Savile is like an elephant in the room. You can’t ignore it.

“Jimmy Savile has affected, in fact, infected this trial and investigation of these offences,” he said.

Roache, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, denies two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.


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