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Soap star pleads not guilty to sex charges

2013-09-03 11:29
William Roache
London - William Roache has pleaded not guilty to seven charges of historic sexual offences against five girls.

The 81-year-old actor - who pays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street - formally denied the charges in a hearing at Preston Crown Court on Monday, where he took to the dock to confirm his name before responding to each of the allegations with a clear answer of "not guilty".

William was arrested at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, in May and charged with two counts of raping a 15-year-old girl in east Lancashire in 1967. He was later additionally charged with five counts of indecent assaults involving four girls aged between 11 or 12 and 16 in the Manchester area between 1965 and 1968.

'Deeply upsetting'

The actor will return to Preston Crown Court on 14 January for a trial, which is scheduled to last four weeks.

William - who has played Ken since the ITV soap began in December 1960 - is on bail on condition he has no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 16, and provided he does not approach any named witnesses.

He previously described the allegations as "deeply upsetting" and vowed to "strenuously deny" the charges.

William will not appear in Coronation Street while his legal proceedings are ongoing.

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