Claims Coronation Street's William Roache raped girl 'unlikely'

William Roache arrives at Preston Crown Court for the 12th day of his trial Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption William Roache has portrayed Ken Barlow in Coronation Street since 1960

A woman who alleges she was raped by Coronation Street actor William Roache described a "very unlikely set of circumstances", a court has heard.

Louise Blackwell QC, defending, said changing her mind about how old she was at the time cast doubt on her claims.

"That's the sort of thing a young woman would remember with real clarity", she told the jury at Preston Crown Court.

Mr Roache, 81, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, denies two rapes and four indecent assaults against five women.

The assaults are alleged to have happened between 1965 and 1971 with girls aged 16 or under.

'Lacks sense and credibility'

Mr Roache is alleged to have indecently assaulted girls in the toilets and dressing rooms at Granada Studios in Manchester, as well as in his car.

One woman alleges he raped her twice at his homes in Haslingden, Lancashire, on separate occasions.

In her closing speech Ms Blackwell asked the jury: "Where is the evidence that they were in the studios, in that cottage or in that car?

"If you cannot be sure that's the end of the matter."

She described the alleged rape victim's story as "so weak when you start to look at it".

The QC asked: "How many women would not remember exactly how old they were when they lost their virginity?

"It's not just the first experience of sex, but it was horrid and you were raped.

"We say, it's just not possible you don't know how old you were. It totally lacks sense and credibility."

'Wildly at odds'

She asked the jury whether the woman's claim that she was raped a second time months later, instead of staying away from Mr Roache from "hate" or "fear", had "the ring of truth?"

"You would not put yourself in that situation," she said. "It is, we submit, absolutely unbelievable."

Ms Blackwell said two sisters who told the court they had both been indecently assaulted by Roache were "wildly at odds with each other."

One of the women told the court last week that Mr Roache assaulted her after he arranged passes for her to visit Granada Studios in Manchester with her sister, who alleges she was also abused by Mr Roache on a separate occasion.

"When something memorable happens you remember details because it's true," Ms Blackwell said. "If, however, you're telling a story you don't have that under-pinning memory."

Ms Blackwell said the disgraced late DJ Jimmy Savile was "like an elephant in the room", adding: "Jimmy Savile has affected, in fact, infected this trial and investigation of these offences.

"We submit to you everything you have seen in this case, that in the post-Jimmy Savile crisis of conscience, when someone makes an allegation against a celebrity, that a fair investigation does not take place."

The trial continues.

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