Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Actor Roache bailed on rape charges

Bill Roache is due to face court

Veteran Coronation Street actor Bill Roache has made his first appearance in court accused of raping a 15-year-old girl.

Appearing at Preston Magistrates' Court, the 81-year-old was led into the witness box and confirmed his full name, address and date of birth.

He was arrested at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, on May 1 and was later charged with two counts of rape against his alleged victim in 1967.

Roache was bailed to appear for a preliminary hearing at Preston Crown Court on June 10.

The actor, wearing a dark blue suit, white shirt and white-and-blue striped tie, arrived at the court just before 9.10am and made no comment to camera crews and reporters. He entered Court 3 at 10am and then appeared relaxed as he waited patiently for more than five minutes for District Judge Jane Goodwin to come in.

Joanna White, prosecuting, did not outline the details of the charges, other to explain that Roache faced two historic counts of rape. She added: "These matters can only be dealt with by the Crown Court."

The case will next be heard at Preston Crown Court by the Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell QC. There was no indication of plea from the actor. Brian Russell, representing Roache, said: "Nothing to add at this stage."

He was granted bail on condition of residence at his home or a family member's address in London, to have no unsupervised contact with anyone under 16 and not to directly or indirectly approach two named persons.

Following the brief hearing, Roache was besieged by camera crews and reporters but again made no comment as he was led into a waiting car.

He has played Ken Barlow in the ITV1 soap since its launch. In a statement issued earlier this month, Roache said: "I strenuously deny the allegations and will now focus my full attention on fighting to preserve my innocence in the challenging times ahead."

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