WITNESSES will continue giving evidence today in the trial of Coronation Street star William Roache.

Roache, the world's longest-serving soap opera actor, is accused of using his stardom to prey on young girls between 1965 and 1971.

The 81-year-old denies five historic counts of indecent assault and two historic counts of rape against five girls aged 16 and under.

Yesterday a jury at Preston Crown Court heard that Roache wrote a letter to a 14-year-old girl weeks after he allegedly sexually assaulted her in a television studio toilet, and asked her to reply "when you start school again".

The woman, Roache's first alleged victim, said she had visited the Granada Studios in Manchester with a friend to take part in a children's talent show in the summer of 1965 when he pulled her into the gents' toilets.

She said he then forced her to perform a sex act on him.

Weeks later she said she received a letter and signed photograph from the actor.

It read: "Dear (the alleged victim), thank you for your marvellous letter and the nice things you said in it. I am enclosing a photo which I hope you like. I am away for three weeks now but I would like a letter from you waiting for me when I get back. Write to me when you start school again and tell me more. Love Bill xx."

The photo was signed "Love to (the alleged victim)! William Roache (Ken Barlow)."

The woman said she returned to the studios later that year, and after meeting Roache he drove her away in his car asked her about oral sex.

She told the jury she thought she had been indecently assaulted in the car, but had "no actual memory" of the episode.

A second alleged victim also spoke of being assaulted at the same studio.

The witness told the jury she was aged 16 when she said he groped her in the ladies' toilets at Granada Studios in November 1965.

"As I went in I suddenly was aware of somebody behind me and I turned round and he was right in my face, absolutely right in front of me. I could not move.

"He more or less pinned me against the back of the wall," she said. "He put his hand underneath my jumper and squeezed my boob.

"It was very quick."

Roache denies any sexual activity ever took place with any of the alleged victims.

The trial is expected to last four weeks.