William Roache trial: Actor's 'abuse punishes past lives' claim angered woman

William Roache Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Coronation Street star William Roache (centre), from Wilmslow, Cheshire is on trial at Preston Crown Court

A woman who claims William Roache forced her to perform a sex act told police she was angry at a TV interview in which he said abuse was punishment for previous lives, a court has heard.

The woman made the comments in a police interview played to the jury at Mr Roache's trial at Preston Crown Court.

The woman said the 81-year-old sexually assaulted her in his Rolls-Royce car.

Mr Roache, who denies two rapes and five indecent assaults between 1965 and 1971, apologised for his abuse remarks.

The actor had made the remarks in an interview with New Zealand broadcaster TVNZ in March last year.

'Absolutely petrified'

The woman, now aged 57, told police she had been angry after seeing Mr Roache on television talking about young girls being "punished for their actions in a previous life".

She added that she was annoyed when Mr Roache had said "girls were hanging around the studio throwing themselves" at him.

"The girls we saw were like us," she said.

"I never saw any girls throwing themselves at anyone. There were even boys there."

The jury heard that the woman contacted police on 1 May last year on the day that it emerged Mr Roache had been arrested on suspicion of raping a young girl.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Roache arrived at the court with his son Linus and daughter Verity

In the interview played to the court, the woman told police she and a friend had accepted a lift from the star, who plays Ken Barlow in the long running soap Coronation Street, at the Granada studios in Manchester between June 1968 and September 1971.

She said she "froze" after the actor "fumbled with his flies" and then pulled her hand to his lap.

The woman said she had felt "petrified, absolutely petrified" during the assault, which Mr Roache had continued even after she tried to stop when a double-decker bus pulled alongside his Rolls-Royce car.

The court heard the star offered the woman half a crown for the bus ride home when she got out of the car.

'Telling the truth'

The woman told the interviewing officer she had not previously come forward "because I feel intimidated".

"People think he is some kind of super actor and he is so good and so lovely," she said.

"You don't stand a chance if you come forward and if I did go to court."

Giving evidence via video-link, she was asked by prosecutor Anne Whyte if Mr Roache's arrest on suspicion of rape had any effect on her.

She said the woman who had reported being attacked "made me feel a coward because she came forward first".

"She was brave enough to do it. I didn't have the guts to do it first."

Louise Blackwell QC, cross-examining, told the woman the assault "just did not happen".

Replying, the woman said that "it did... it happened".

"I am just so sorry I have left it so long to come forward," she said.

"I know I am telling the truth and the person you are defending knows I am telling the truth."

The trial continues.

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