Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Child abuse horrendous, says Roache

William Roache called paedophiles "horrendous" in an interview last year

William Roche said in a TV interview last year that paedophilia is "absolutely horrendous" and child sex abusers need to be "sought out, rooted out and dealt with".

Jurors at the rape and sex assault trial of the Coronation Street star at Preston Crown Court were shown excerpts of a show broadcast in New Zealand last March.

Comments made in the interview by the actor, who plays Ken Barlow in the ITV soap, were said to have angered one of the complainants in the case.

The court has heard it prompted her, in part, to come forward to police with her allegation that Roache made her perform a sex act on him in his gold Rolls-Royce.

In the interview on New Zealand's One News programme, Roache said: "Paedophilia is absolutely horrendous. Paedophiles should be sought out, rooted out and dealt with.

"But there is a fringe here, there is a fringe of people who... particularly pop singers... they have these groupies, these girls who come, they are sexually active, sexually mature.

"They don't ask for their birth certificates. They don't know what age they may be but they are certainly not grooming them and exploiting them. But they can be caught in this trap.

"These people are instantly stigmatised. Some will be innocent, some will not. But until such time as it's proven, there should be anonymity for both."

The interviewer cuts in: "If the facts are borne out, there are no excuses there?"

Roache replies: "No, if someone has done something wrong, the law will take its course but even so, all of us, whatever... whether they are proven guilty or not, we should not be judgmental about anybody, ever.

"We should not go around condemning, unforgiving. We should always be totally forgiving about everything."

Roache goes on: "If you know that you are pure love and therefore live that pure love, these things won't happen to you."

The interviewer responds: "To some people, that sounds perhaps like you are saying victims bring it upon themselves. Is that what you are saying?"

The actor replies: "No, not quite but yes, I am. In that we... everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives, or whatever."

Roache denies two counts of rape and five counts of indecent assault involving the five complainants who were aged 16 and under on dates between 1965 and 1971.

The trial was adjourned until 2pm on Monday.

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