Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Winners in This Case, Says Actor Cleared of Sex Claims

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Winners in This Case, Says Actor Cleared of Sex Claims

Article excerpt

Byline: Kim Pilling and Pat Hurst

CORONATION Street star William Roache said he wanted to get back to work after he was cleared yersterday of committing historic sex offences against five women.

Following his acquittal by a jury at Preston Crown Court, he refused to comment on whether the four-week trial was "a witch-hunt" but said there were "no winners" in the case.

The police force that investigated the allegations against him said it "remained committed" to such investigations and added it respected the verdicts of the jury.

In a statement, Lancashire Con-stabulary said: "These very serious allegations were thoroughly and professionally investigated by a team of specialist detectives.

"Lancashire Constabulary worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service from an early stage, and all the evidence was subjected to careful scrutiny before a decision was taken to charge, in the belief that there was sufficient evidence to justify a realistic prospect of conviction."

Roache, 81, who plays Ken Barlow in the ITV soap, was found not guilty of two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault.

Speaking on the steps of the court, he said: "I have just got one thing to say, in these situations there are no winners and I think we should all be much kinder to ourselves. Now if you will excuse me I would like to get back to work."

Several members of the jury that had taken just short of six hours to clear him of the allegations watched as Roache read out a statement to the media.

He thanked his employers, ITV Granada, his legal team, family, friends and colleagues for their support - as well as those people he did not know who had wished him well.

An ITV spokesman said: "We look forward to talking to Bill soon about his return to work."

Roache, wearing a blue suit and the same blue-and-white patterned tie he had worn for every day of the trial, showed no reaction as the foreman read out the verdicts.

When the last one was delivered, the months of strain overcame his family in the front row of the public gallery as his younger son James dissolved into tears with a hand over his face, his elder son Linus wiped away tears and his younger daughter Verity was hugged by her boyfriend before she also began to weep. …

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