Derbyshire-born Coronation Street star William Roache has been found NOT GUILTY of six historic sex charges.
The 81-year-old, who has played Ken Barlow for more than 50 years in the soap, was accused of four indecent assaults and two rapes.
He pledged to vehemently defend himself from the moment he was first charged.
He pleaded not guilty and has been on trial at Preston Crown Court for four weeks. His character was written out of the soap during the court action.
But he has now been cleared of all charges and by a jury.
Mr Roache was said to have used his fame and popularity to exploit the “starstruck” girls, aged 16 and under, between the mid-60s and early 70s.
The women told jurors they were sexually abused by the defendant either at Granada Studios in Manchester, in his car or at properties he owned.
But Roache told the jury he had no knowledge of any of the women and the alleged abuse simply did not happen.
Roache said he was “astounded” and “horrified” at his arrest on suspicion of rape at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, on May 1 last year.
Speaking after the verdict Mr Roache thanked his family, ITV, colleagues, friends and his management and legal team.
He added: “In these situations there are no winners and I think we should be much kinder to ourselves.
“Now if you will excuse me, I’d like to get back to work.”
Shortly afterwards he left the court flanked by his family and a security guard.