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Actor 'assaulted second teen boy'

A former Coronation Street actor has been accused of sexually assaulting a second teenage boy who he lured into his bedroom with the promise of a massage, a court has heard.

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

Lancel 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 and attending a theatre group.

The court heard from a second man who claimed Lancel molested him when he was 15. The man, now 35, said he was also a member of a theatre group in Southport when he met Lancel.

He said the actor offered to help him deal with a sleep deprivation problem he was having due to the adrenaline of performing by giving him a massage and invited him for a "sleep over" at his home. The witness said he thought it was a "bit weird" but he decided to go as Lancel seemed "to know what he was talking about".

He described how Lancel took him upstairs and told him to strip down to his underpants and then massaged him. He said he was in a "deep state of relaxation" and towards the end of the massage Lancel carried out a sex act on him. The man said he decided not to tell his family about the alleged assault but that he later told his wife. Lancel has not been charged in relation to these allegations.

Earlier, the complainant in the trial who claims Lancel sexually abused him when he was a schoolboy broke down in tears after he was accused of making up a "malicious lie".

Lancel's accuser, now aged 34, was cross examined by Andrew Menary QC, defending, who challenged various aspects of his account of what happened. The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, claims he was aged just 14 and was "star struck" by Lancel when the abuse began.

He says the actor targeted him when he was performing in a production at a theatre group in Southport and would take him out for coffees before indecently assaulting him on numerous occasions over the next three years. Mr Menary went on to point out inconsistencies in the accounts the man had given to the police and to his counsellors. The man said it had been hard for him to talk about it and that he had been "embarrassed" to admit that he had continued to have sexual contact with the defendant into his early 20s when they were living in London.

The prosecution claim the defendant, who is married with a son, used his "status" as an actor to flatter and gain the trust of the boy, whom he knew he was under the age of consent.

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