Ex Llandudno hospice president William Roache cleared of rape and assault


Staff reporter (NW Pioneer)

CORONATION Street star and former St David's Hospice president William Roache has been cleared of historic sex offences against five women.

Roache, 81, who plays Ken Barlow in the ITV soap, said there were "no winners" after he was found not guilty by a jury of two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault following a four-week trial at Preston Crown Court.

Speaking on the steps of the court, he said: "I have just got one thing to say, in these situations there are no winners and I think we should all be much kinder to ourselves. Now if you will excuse me I would like to get back to work."

St David's Hospice chair Gladys Harrison said: "Mr Roach stood down as president last year.

"He gave his time as president to promoting and working with St David's.

"We wish him well on his return to work."

Several members of the jury, that had taken just short of six hours to clear him of the allegations, watched as Roache read out a statement to the media.

He thanked his employers, ITV Granada, his legal team, family, friends and colleagues for their support - as well as those people he did not know who had wished him well.

Roache did not respond when asked if the trial had been "a witch-hunt".

In her closing speech to the jury, prosecutor Anne Whyte said that if Roache was telling the truth and the complainants were all liars then he could be seen as a victim of "a huge, distorted, perverse witch-hunt".

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