UK

Bill Roache, Coronation Street's Ken Barlow, Charged With Five More Indecent Assaults

06/06/2013 17:57 BST | Updated 06/06/2013 18:17 BST
PA
Coronation Street actor Bill Roach leaves Preston Magistrates' Court after he made his first appearance in court accused of raping a 15-year-old girl.

Bill Roache, who played Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, has been charged with five new indecent assaults against four girls aged between 11 and 16.

Three of the offences allegedly took place in 1965 and two in 1968. He has been bailed to appear before Preston Magistrates’ Court on 7 June 2013.

Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West, said: “We have been reviewing evidence and providing early investigative advice to Lancashire Police regarding these allegations, which were made to police after Mr Roache was charged with two offences of rape on 1 May 2013.

“This decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and our guidance for prosecutors on sexual offences. Mr Roache has a right to a fair trial and it is therefore very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial. For these reasons, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.”

The 81-year-old actor has already made his first appearance in court accused of raping a 15-year-old girl in 1967.

In a statement issued earlier this month, Roache said he was "astounded and deeply horrified by the extraordinary events" of his arrest and subsequent charging.

He added: "I strenuously deny the allegations and will now focus my full attention on fighting to preserve my innocence in the challenging times ahead.

"I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all those people who have offered me their support and good wishes at this difficult time."

Roache - the world's longest-serving soap actor - will not appear in the programme until legal proceedings are concluded, ITV said.

He collected an award from Guinness World Records in 2010 for his long service in Coronation Street, having joined in 1960 and appeared regularly ever since.