Coronation Street star Bill Roache cleared: Complainant's testimony 'coloured' by contact with newspaper

The husband of a woman who accused Coronation Street star Bill Roache of sexual abuse contacted the press before approaching the police.

The 81-year-old actor was today found not guilty of two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault at Preston Crown Court.

Roache was arrested at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire on 1 May 2013.

He was suspended from the show until legal proceedings had concluded.

Roache’s defence barrister Louise Blackwell QC told the jury that the complainant’s testimony had been “coloured” because of the contact with the newspaper.

She continued that after details of Roache’s arrest for rape appeared “all over the press” that subsequent complaints could not be regarded as “truly independent”.

Roache – who plays Ken Barlow in the long-running ITV soap – was accused of sexually abusing five youngsters.

The prosecution alleged that he used his fame and popularity to exploit the “starstruck girls” from the mid 1960s to early 1970s.

Four woman made complaints after details of the original arrest in May 2013 hit the newspapers.

The women claimed that Roache abused them at the Granada Studios in Manchester, in his car or at his house.

Roache denied knowing any of the woman as he claimed the abuse never happened.

Blackwell said her client had no interest in underage girls and suggested that the trial had been haunted by the “spectre” of Jimmy Savile.

She said: “In the post Jimmy Savile era, once someone makes an allegation, it's got to go to court, no sense will prevail, it has to go to court."

The prosecution offered no evidence on one of the indecent assault counts as the woman had “no actual memory of the episode”.

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