Amused Roache 'made my skin crawl'

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Coronation Street actor William Roache is on trial accused of raping a 15-year-old girl in 1967 and five indecent assaults on four girls aged between 11 or 12 and 16 in 1965 and 1968. Coronation Street actor William Roache is on trial accused of raping a 15-year-old girl in 1967 and five indecent assaults on four girls aged between 11 or 12 and 16 in 1965 and 1968.

Watching Coronation Street star William Roache talk about his love life in a TV interview "made my skin crawl", his alleged rape victim told police.

The woman spoke about the actor's appearance on Piers Morgan's Life Stories programme when she was interviewed by detectives for the first time.

She said she was a "gullible kid" who was raped on two different occasions in 1967 at the actor's then home in Lancashire - the first time when she was a 15-year-old virgin.

Jurors at Preston Crown Court were played a video recording of the police interview she gave last March.

Describing why she had decided to make a formal complaint after staying silent for more than 40 years she referred to the ITV1 broadcast.

"He was talking about the number of women in his life," she said. "He was quite amused by it all.

"It made my skin crawl to be honest. It was just the way he laughed it all off. It was the sort of way he was laughing."

Her complaint led to Roache, who has played Ken Barlow since the launch of the soap, being charged last May with two counts of rape.

The publicity that followed led to four other women alleging he had sexually assaulted them.

Roache, 81, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, denies the rapes and five counts of indecent assault involving the four other complainants aged 16 and under on dates between 1965 and 1971.

The rape complainant recalled a conversation with her son where she told somebody for the first time about the alleged incidents.

She said the discussion took place after the emergence of the Jimmy Savile scandal and later disclosures about Sir Cyril Smith.

Her son asked her why the general allegations were just coming to light.

"I said in those days you didn't talk about things like that," she said.

"They would say 'go away, it's lies'. These kids would not have been believed. I said 'I know that' and that is when it started to unravel.

"I said I know things like this happen because I have been in a position like this."

She said she had not wanted to "relive" the incidents.

"I was defending these kids over why they had not come forward for 30 or 40 years."

Asked in the police interview why she had decided to make a complaint, she told the female officer: "It has eaten away at me. It is on the media all the time.

"I now realise what happened to me was not an isolated incident.

"I thought it had to be my fault ... I was ashamed, frightened and disgusted, to be quite honest.

"I realise now it was not just one person, I thought it was just him. And now it is coming out all over the place that people are doing it."

She said: "All these years I have never brought it to anyone's attention. I chose not to say anything.

"I thought I was to blame, especially the second time.

"I was gullible ... I was a kid. I would never have repeated it to anyone."

But by last year she said "it has started to bother me because there might be other people that this has happened to".

She continued: "It started where I can't sleep, it is there at the back of my mind all the time."

The witness said the first rape occurred when with "no warning" the defendant had sex with her in the bedroom of his bungalow.

"He laid on top of me," she said. "He was pulling a condom out of a wrapper.

"He just pulled everything to one side. I knew what was happening. He did not kiss me, he was very cold and calculating."

During her statement, the witness said she was 14 at the time of the alleged incident, but later agreed she was in fact 15.

Several months later she said, she made a "big mistake" in accepting Roache's invitation to a different property he owned.

This time as soon as she entered the house she was pushed against a wall and raped, she said.

"Same as before, just pulled everything to one side," she said. "I was not there very long, it was like a quick fumble and I was out the door.

"It was all over really quickly.

"Once he had done what he done he just moved away."

She recalled the last time she saw him, by chance, at a carnival in the 1970s when Roache was a judge on a baby show.

"It upset me a little bit because I didn't know he was a judge that day," she said.

She said the actor walked along a line-up of mothers and their babies and recognised her.

"He said 'Oh hello, I know you don't I?' and that was it," she said.

Opening her cross-examination, Louise Blackwell QC, defending, told the witness: "All the questions I am putting to you are on the basis that neither of these events happened, just so you understand."

She then proceeded to ask her about the layout of Roache's former home.

The trial continues tomorrow at 10am when the cross-examination will continue.

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