Lancashire TelegraphCoronation Street star has no recollection of his accusers (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Coronation Street star has no recollection of his accusers

Lancashire Telegraph: William Roache arrives at Preston Crown Court William Roache arrives at Preston Crown Court

CORONATION Street star William Roache said he has no memory of ever meeting any of the women accusing him of sexual offences.

He took to the witness box at Preston Crown Court to give evidence in his denial of two rapes and four indecent assaults against five women aged 16 or under between 1965 and 1971.

He was cleared of one indecent assault on the judge’s direction on Monday.

Roache, 81, admitted to a jury that he cheated on his first wife in the 1960s in ‘a series of relationships’ but he was not a paedophile.

During the period of the alleged offences he lived with actress wife Anna Cropper between a bungalow in Haslingden and a flat in London.

The defendant was asked about the end of his first marriage, which he said was in trouble from 1965 until 1969 when the couple got divorced.

“Were you faithful to Anna Cropper during that time?” asked his barrister Louise Blackwell QC.

“No, I was not, I'm sorry to say,” Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in the ITV soap, replied.

He was then asked how often he had been unfaithful.

“Intermittently,” he rep-lied. “There was a period in my marriage which was not as fulfilling as it should have been and I did have a series of relationships with people. I was looking for relationships.”

Roache said he began a relationship with his second wife Sara Mottram in 1970 or 1971 and they were married in 1978.

Miss Blackwell asked if, 'from the time of meeting his second wife, he was faithful to her.

He said: “Totally faithful. For 39 years until her death, I was totally and absolutely faithful.”

Soon after he went into the witness box, Miss Blackwell asked Roache: “Have you committed any of the offences with which you have been charged?”

“No, I have not,” Roache said.

Miss Blackwell continued: “Do you have any memory of being in the company of any of the people that have made the allegations against you?”

“No, not one of them,” Roache replied.

“Do you know any of them in any way?” Miss Blackwell said.

“No,” the defendant replied.

“Or of them in any way?” Miss Blackwell continued.

“No,” he said.

His barrister went through each of the six counts he faces and which Roache firmly denied ever took place.

“Did you ever take any young woman or girl into the bedroom and do as described, push her on to the bed and rape her?” asked Miss Blackwell.

“Absolutely not,” Roache replied.

Asked if he had committed the second rape, he replied: “Absolutely not. Totally against my nature to harm anyone in any way whatsoever.”

Roache is also accused of indecently assaulting a 14-year-old in the gents’ toilets at Granada Studios in Manchester where Coro-nation Street was filmed, a 16-year-old in the men’s toilets, one young girl in a dressing room and another in his Rolls-Royce on a lift home from the studios.

He said no one apart from those working at Granada would be allowed inside the studio while filming was taking place.

(Proceeding).

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