3 Sep 2013

Coro star Bill Roache denies rape and indecent assault charges

10:33 am on 3 September 2013

Coronation Street star William Roache has pleaded not guilty to rape and indecent assault charges.

Mr Roache, 81, denied two counts of raping a 15-year-old girl in the north-west of England in 1967.

He also denied five counts of indecent assault involving four girls in Manchester in the mid-to-late 1960s.

The actor, who plays Ken Barlow in the famous ITV show and is the world's longest-serving soap opera star, will now face a trial at Preston Crown Court in January, the BBC reports.

An ITV spokesperson previously confirmed Mr Roache would not be appearing in the soap until legal proceedings had concluded.

Mr Roache was arrested at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, in May and charged with two counts of raping a 15-year-old girl in Lancashire, in 1967.

He was later additionally charged with five indecent assaults involving four girls aged between 11 or 12 and 16, allegedly committed in the Manchester area between 1965 and 1968.

At Preston Crown Court he pleaded not guilty to all the charges. He remains on bail.

When he was initially charged, Mr Roache said he was "astounded and deeply horrified" by the accusations and vowed to "strenuously deny" the allegations.