Actors to give evidence in Coronation Street star’s defence

William Roache (81) is accused of a string of sexual offences

 Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride arrives at Preston Crown Court ahead of giving evidence in the trial of William Roache today in Preston, Lancashire. Photograph:  Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride arrives at Preston Crown Court ahead of giving evidence in the trial of William Roache today in Preston, Lancashire. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Wed, Jan 29, 2014, 10:23

Actors from Coronation Street are expected to be called to the witness box today at the trial of fellow star William Roache, who is accused of a string of sexual offences.

Anne Kirkbride, who as Deirdre Barlow is on-screen wife to Roache’s character Ken Barlow, Chris Gascoyne - his son Peter Barlow in the ITV soap - and actress Helen Worth, who plays Gail Platt, are expected to give evidence in Roache’s defence.

Roache (81) denies two counts of raping a 15-year-old girl in east Lancashire in 1967, and four indecent assaults involving four girls aged between 11 or 12 and 16 in the Manchester area in 1965 and 1968.

On Monday he was cleared of one of the seven historic sex allegations against him when the judge ordered the jury to return a not guilty verdict on a single count of indecent assault.

Yesterday Roache, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, categorically denied having committed any of the offences.

He told a jury at Preston Crown Court that he did not remember meeting any of the people who made allegations against him, and denied that he was a man “willing to take sexual risks” during the 1960s.

Roache conceded having cheated on his wife Anna Cropper, but said he was “not interested in gratuitous sex ,and certainly not with under-age people”.

He told the court: “I have no interest in people under age and I have no interest in imposing myself on people.”

The trial continues.

Agencies