England

Coronation Street star William Roache faces rape charges

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Media captionWilliam Roache's car was surrounded by reporters when he returned home

Coronation Street star William Roache has been charged with two counts of rape involving a 15-year-old girl in the 1960s.

Mr Roache, 81, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, is alleged to have committed the rapes in Haslingden, Lancashire, between April and July 1967, police said.

Mr Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in the ITV soap, has not commented.

An ITV spokesman said the actor would not be appearing in the programme until legal proceedings were concluded.

Prosecutors said Mr Roache would appear before Preston magistrates on 14 May.

'Public interest'

Chief Crown Prosecutor Nazir Afzal said the evidence against Mr Roache had been "carefully considered".

"We have been reviewing evidence and providing early investigative advice to Lancashire Police since 1 March," he said.

"Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Roache to be charged."

Two police officers were stationed by the closed wrought iron gates outside the star's home during the day. Mr Roache was driven past them and the assembled media back towards his home at about 21:45 BST.

Mr Roache has an award from Guinness World Records for being the world's longest-serving soap actor, having appeared in Coronation Street since its first episode.

A Coronation Street spokesman said: "Given that a police investigation is under way it would not be appropriate to comment."

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