Lancashire

William Roache charged with indecent assault

Bill Roache
Image caption Mr Roache is due before magistrates on Friday

Coronation Street actor William Roache has been charged with five counts of indecent assault involving four girls aged between 12 and 16 in the 1960s.

Prosecutors said it was in the public interest for the prosecution to take place after reviewing evidence gathered by Lancashire Police.

Mr Roache, 81, already faces two counts of rape involving a 15-year-old girl, in 1967. He appeared in court in May.

He is due before Preston magistrates on Friday.

The latest charges relate to a period between 1965 and 1968, when the assaults are alleged to have been committed in the Manchester area.

Lancashire Police said in a statement: "Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service an 81-year-old man has this evening been charged with five offences of indecent assault.

"[William] Roache was arrested this morning after attending a police station by appointment."

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said three of the alleged offences took place in 1965 and two in 1968.

No plea

Nazir Afzal, chief crown prosecutor for CPS North West, said: "We have carefully considered all the evidence gathered by Lancashire Police in relation to recent allegations from four complainants that William Roache indecently assaulted them in the 1960s.

"We have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Roache to be charged with five offences of indecent assault relating to four girls who were aged between 11 or 12 and 16 at the time that the alleged offences happened."

He said the allegations were made to police after Mr Roache was charged with two offences of rape on 1 May.

Mr Roache, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, who is accused of raping a 15-year-old girl in Haslingden, Lancashire, is due to appear at Preston Crown Court in relation to that case on Monday.

Although the actor has previously said in a statement he "strenuously denies" the allegations of rape he is yet to enter a formal plea.

An ITV spokesman has said the actor, who has been in the soap since it started in 1960, will not be appearing in Coronation Street until legal proceedings had concluded.

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