Fame allowed Coronation Street star William Roache to carry out sex attacks on young girls and silence his victims for decades, a court heard today.
Roache, as an actor playing Ken Barlow in the ITV soap watched by millions of TV fans, had the opportunity to prey on his victims and his stardom was one reason none of his young victims spoke of the abuse, it was alleged.
Roache, 81, denies five counts of indecent assault and two counts of rape involving five girls aged between 11 or 12 and 16. The offences are said to have occurred between 1965 and 1971.
He sat in the dock listening intently as his trial began at Preston Crown Court.
Anne Whyte QC, opening the case for the prosecution, told the jury of eight women and four men they were “bound to know” the defendant is a household name.
“It would be artificial to suggest that this fact should be divorced from this case because it cannot be,” she said.
“You may well conclude by the end of this trial that William Roache’s fame and popularity provided not only the opportunity for his offending but that it is one of the predominant reasons for his victims’ decades of silence.
“But just as you must not judge or dismiss the complaints because they took so long to complain, so you must not favour or condemn the defendant simply because you have heard of him or because he is over 80.
“Favour or condemn him on the evidence, not because he plays Ken Barlow.
“Do not be diverted from the integrity of your task and oath just because he is William Roache.”