Belfast Telegraph

Actor 'dabbled with homosexuality'

The former Coronation Street actor at the centre of child sex abuse allegations told police he had "dabbled" with homosexuality when he was younger but categorically denied having any sexual relations with "minors or children", a court has heard.

Andrew Lancel, 42, best known for his role as Frank Foster in the ITV soap, was charged last November under his real name Andrew Watkinson.

The actor, from Gateacre in Liverpool, has pleaded not guilty to six counts of indecent assault of a child under the age of 16 and is on trial at Liverpool Crown Court. The charges relate to one male victim and the offending allegedly took place between 1993 and 1994 when he was aged 14 and 15.

On Wednesday the jury heard extracts from Lancel's police interviews in which he denied any wrongdoing.

Lancel, who is married with a son, told police he was heterosexual but said he had had "experiences other than with a female" when he was younger. He told police that it was when he was "drunk at parties, sitting around. It was a bit of show-and-tell, you know".

The court heard that the actor told police: "I got my knob out, for want of a better word, on many occasions. Maybe I shouldn't have." He said: "I have been around for a long time, you know. I'm 42 so I'm not going to lie and say I haven't dabbled."

But he went on to tell police that he has a wife and he is not gay, adding: "It's nothing. I've not broken any laws. I have been to parties, heavy parties....I've never had a relationship with a man. I've never had sexual intercourse with a man and if I had I would tell you."

Police asked if he had ever masturbated a man and the actor said: "Nothing with minors or children." Asked about oral sex, he replied: "I can categorically say I have not had oral sex with a man or masturbated with minors or a child...It's just like, you know, nothing like that."

The actor said he remembered meeting the complainant on a workshop in Southport when he noticed he was a "good dancer". He said he became good friends with his accuser, who was part of a "gang of friends". He added: "I'm not denying I knew him. I am denying what he is saying."

The prosecution claim the defendant used his "status" as an actor to flatter and gain the trust of the boy, whom he knew was under the age of consent. In his police interviews Lancel denied that any inappropriate sexual activity took place. He said that his accuser had never brought the allegations up with him in all the years they were "mates".

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