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Bill Roache 'attacked girl in TV restroom', court hears

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Jan 14, 2014 | 9:12am EST

Veteran British soap star Bill Roache assaulted a young woman in a restroom at the ITV network studios where he was based, a U.K. court has heard. Roache, who has starred in hit TV drama Coronation Street for 53 years, is accused of a series of sex attacks dating back to the 1960s. His trial began at Preston Crown Court in England on Tuesday (14Jan13) and the jury was told not to confuse the star, who is being tried under his full name of William Roache, with his beloved onscreen character Ken Barlow. The judge, Mr Justice Holroyde, told jurors, "You may feel in one sense you know the defendant, Mr. Roache. He is well known as an actor who for many years has played the part of Ken Barlow in Coronation Street. "But of course, this is not the fictional character of Ken Barlow in court. It is a real person, William Roache, who is on trial. You must separate the fictional character from the real person." The court heard that Roache is facing two allegations of raping a teenage girl in 1967, and five charges of indecently assaulting four females, aged between 12 and 16, from 1965 to 1968. One of the incidents is said to have taken place in a bathroom at TV network ITV. Roache's co-stars, Anne Kirkbride, who plays his character's longtime partner Deirdre Barlow on the soap, his on-screen son Chris Gascoyne, and actress Helen Worth, are all expected to be called as witnesses for the defence. Roache denies all seven charges. The trial continues.

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