Soap star to face child sex trial
Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell will stand trial in September after being accused of child sex offences.
The star, who plays car mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV soap, made his first appearance at Manchester Crown Court today under his real name of Michael Turner.
The 48-year-old is charged with 19 offences including six counts of raping a child, six allegations of indecently assaulting a child and seven counts of sexual activity with a child.
The alleged offences relate to one complainant and all took place between 2001 and 2010.
During today's preliminary hearing, which lasted about 10 minutes, Le Vell, wearing a dark pinstripe suit, white shirt and black tie, spoke only to confirm his name.
Six members of his family sat in the public gallery of the packed courtroom.
Le Vell has not yet entered a plea but has stated publicly that he is innocent and will fight the allegations through the courts.
Prosecutor Eleanor Laws told Judge Michael Henshell that a plea hearing will take place on May 17 followed by a two to three-week trial starting on September 2.
Alisdair Williamson, defending, asked for an earlier trial date, saying: "Mr Turner has had this hanging over his head for 18 months."
But Judge Henshell said the September date should be fixed and granted the actor bail until the plea hearing, at the same court, in May. Asked by the judge if he understood, Le Vell nodded and said "Thank you", before leaving the dock.