East Lancashire victim’s fury as Bill Roache appears on Piers Morgan's show

Bill Roache

Bill Roache appears on Piers Morgan's show

First published in News
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Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

AN East Lancashire woman who claims Coronation Street star Bill Roache raped her twice said his TV appearance on the Piers Morgan Life Stories show ‘made her skin crawl’.

She told the court she was disturbed by his boasts about the number of women in his life.

She said: “He was quite amused by it all. It made my skin crawl to be honest. It was just the way he laughed it all off. It was the sort of way he was laughing. I always liked him as a person until this happened.”

The alleged victim, now 62, said she had kept quiet about the alleged rapes at his Haslingden homes for decades because she blamed herself.

Roache, 81, who plays Ken Barlow in the soap, denies raping the woman twice when she was 15, and five indecent assaults on four other girls.

The complainant, a virgin at the time, described the first attack, in 1967, as ‘cold and calculated’.

She told Preston Crown Court how Roache pushed her onto a bed and raped her ‘with no warning’.

The jury also heard how the Roache recognised his alleged victim years later when he was a judge at an East Lancashire carnival competition.

The court was shown a video interview given by the woman at Burnley police station when she first made the rape allegations last March.

She told officers: “All these years I have never brought it to anyone's attention. I chose not to say anything.

“I thought I was to blame, especially the second time. I was gullible ... I was a kid. I would never have repeated it to anyone.”

She said the first rape had happened after she had been invited inside Roache’s house.

“I was a bit shocked,” she said. “There was no warning to anything that would have happened. There was nothing to suggest that anything improper was going to happen.

“It happened before I realised it. I didn't know what to do. I was panicking. I didn't have to fight him. He was not aggressive in any way.”

She described the first alleged rape as a ‘horrible, horrible incident’, adding: “It was very uncomfortable but at the time I was panic-stricken, I just wanted to go home. I can remember just trying to stare at the ceiling. He did not say a word.”

Afterwards, the woman said Roache: “Just got off, zipped himself up again and I was allowed to go. I just left. I got out. I thought it was my fault. I had gone round there in innocence and did not know why it happened. I didn't see it coming.”

Speaking about the second alleged rape, at another of Roache’s homes later the same year, she said she had made ‘a big mistake’ in accepting his invitation to ‘come and have a look’ at the property.

She said: “I was not there very long, it was like a quick fumble and I was out the door. It was all over really quickly. Once he had done what he done he just moved away.

“There was no intimacy. It was an instant thing. It had to be my fault the second time, obviously I was trusting.”

The complainant was asked by the officer why she did not try to escape, but she said Roache was ‘a lot bigger’ than her.

She replied: “I was too shocked. I just froze. You just think you want to get out of here. It’s a horrible, horrible experience. I was not consenting at 14, we were kids at 14. I would not have been consenting to it, I was scared. I didn't know what was going to happen."

Asked by a police officer how she would describe what allegedly happened to her, the complainant replied: “I don't know if you called it rape in them days because I was not pinned down. I was sexually abused.”

During the third day of the trial, Roache was allowed out of the witness box to sit next to his lawyer so he could see the court’s video screens.

His children, Linus, James and Verity, have been in attendance in the public gallery for every minute of the case so far.

More than a decade after the alleged rapes, the woman recalled meeting Roache again at a carnival in East Lancashire.

She said: “It upset me a little bit because I didn't know he was a judge that day. I was utterly disgusted. I didn’t want anyone else to know. When I walked past he said: ‘Oh hello, I know you don't I?’ “I waited until the baby show was over and then left.”

She then recalled a conversation with her son about other celebrity sex scandals involving Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith, which had prompted her to contact police.

Her had asked her why the general allegations were just coming to light.

She said: “I said in those days you didn’t talk about things like that. They would say ‘go away, it's lies’.

“These kids would not have been believed. I said ‘I know that’ and that is when it started to unravel. I said I know things like this happen because I have been in a position like this.”

She added: “It has eaten away at me. It is on the media all the time. I now realise what happened to me was not an isolated incident.

“I thought it had to be my fault ... I was ashamed, frightened and disgusted, to be quite honest. I realise now it was not just one person, I thought it was just him. And now it is coming out all over the place that people are doing it.”

She said she had been struggling to sleep and that the alleged incidents were always ‘in the back of my mind’.

Questioned by prosecutor Anne Whyte QC, the alleged victim clarified that she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl in 1967, when the alleged rapes occurred.

She had originally told police she was 14 at the time, but corrected this in another statement to police last week.

Opening her cross-examination, Louise Blackwell QC, defending, told the alleged victim: “All the questions I am putting to you are on the basis that neither of these events happened, just so you understand.”

She then proceeded to question the complainant about the layout of Roache's former homes. The jury was shown two video clips showing the inside and outside of the properties.

(PROCEEDING)

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