ROACHE TRIAL: alleged rape victim ‘humiliated’

CLEARED: William Roache
CLEARED: William Roache

An alleged rape victim of Ilkeston-born Coronation Street star William Roache was so “humiliated” at the attack she kept it a secret at the time, a jury has heard.

Preston Crown Court has been told she was a “gullible kid” who was raped twice in 1967 at the actor’s then home in Lancashire - the first time when she was a 15-year-old virgin.

Her complaint to the police last March led to Roache, who has played Ken Barlow since the launch of the ITV soap, being charged two months later.

In the publicity that followed, four women came forward alleging that Roache had sexually abused them.

Roache, 81, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, denies the two alleged rapes and five charges of indecent assault involving the four other complainants aged 16 and under on dates between 1965 and 1971.

The first rape was said to have taken place weeks after Roache’s then wife, Anna Cropper, gave birth to their daughter Vanya.

Under cross-examination from Louise Blackwell QC, the complainant said Roache did not say anything or threaten her before she left the address.

The woman said she did not tell her family or friends about what happened and went to school the next day.

“I was humiliated, disgusted and ashamed,” she said. “I was so shocked. I would never have mentioned it because I had been so gullible to have been caught in that situation.”

Later in the year she said she could not remember Roache saying anything after he allegedly pushed her against a wall of an adjoining property he owned and raped her again.

She said she was invited into the cottage but was under the impression that an elderly woman was living there.

Miss Blackwell asked her if she was worried she was pregnant.

The woman replied: “I don’t think I knew enough then. I didn’t realise the implications. They didn’t talk about those things in them days.”

Miss Blackwell suggested to her that she must have felt more upset about being raped a second time.

She said: “Yes because I thought that I should not have got into that position a second time. I should have known that I should not have trusted him.”

Asked what she did afterwards in the hours that followed, she said: “I can’t remember exact just want to close your mind to them.

“I never thought that I would have to repeat them. I have buried these for 47 years.”

She told the court she suffered depression after the alleged rapes and was on anti-depressants into her late teens.

She said she suffered a nervous breakdown in later life, which was related to a different matter.