Belfast Telegraph

Le Vell: I'm a drunk, not a rapist

Alcoholic Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell has told a jury that he had never got so drunk that he raped a young girl.

The soap actor has admitted he has a drink problem, had a number of one-night stands while married, and also cheated on his wife while she underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer. But he repeatedly denied his troubled personal life had led him to become a child abuser.

The 48-year-old, who has played garage mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV1 soap for 30 years, was cross-examined at length by prosecuting barrister Eleanor Laws QC and steadfastly maintained that his accuser was lying.

Miss Laws repeatedly asserted that he was making up his account "as you go along" and concluded by putting it to him: "You have already accepted that you are not Coronation Street Kevin. You are the troubled Michael Turner (his real name) who has been abusing (the alleged victim), aren't you?"

"No," Le Vell replied.

At the conclusion of the cross-examination, Alisdair Williamson, defending Le Vell, reminded the jury that his client was a man of good character who had never been arrested or interviewed by police prior to these allegations surfacing.

He went on to ask him: "Have you ever got so drunk that you decided to rape (alleged victim)?"

"No," the actor replied.

Earlier the soap star told the jury at Manchester Crown Court that when he spoke about "little dark secrets" in his personal life, he had meant his extra-marital activities and not being a child abuser.

Le Vell agreed he also told the same person that what he had done was "something unforgiveable".

But he denied ever saying that they would not believe "what things are inside my head".

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claims Le Vell repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped her, once while she was clutching a teddy bear.

Le Vell denies five counts of rape, three of indecent assault, two counts of sexual activity with a child and two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Le Vell has previously told the court he is an alcoholic who has drunk up to eight pints every night in the pub for most of his acting career.

Sending the jury of eight women and four men home for the weekend, Judge Michael Henshell said he felt no need to repeat the directions he gave at the start of the trial.

But he told jurors: "It would be very difficult to ignore the publicity surrounding this case but you know you are the people who decide it. Do not allow yourself to be influenced by anything you see or read."

The case was adjourned until 10am on Monday (September 9), when closing speeches from both barristers will take place, the judge will sum up the trial and the jury is expected to retire to consider its verdicts.

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