Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell told a jury he was "fighting for his life" after being accused of child sex allegations.
ITV News Correspondent Damon Green reports:
The 48-year-old said he was "devastated and lost" after being accused of raping and sexually abusing a young girl.
Eleanor Laws, QC, prosecuting, claimed the actor was a man with "demons" and was nothing like his on-screen character Kevin Webster.
- "Nervous?" she asked in her opening question.
- He replied: "As anyone in this position would be."
- Miss Laws said: "You were a bit tearful earlier?"
- Le Vell said: "I wouldn't say tearful."
- The barrister continued: "A bit shaky?"
- He said: "Yes. It's a new experience for me."
- Miss Laws said: "It has never been more important for you to be more persuasive than you have ever been today."
- The actor said: "I would not say persuasive. I am just here to tell the truth."
The barrister then compared his need to be persuasive to an acting job, with Le Vell replying:
– Michael Le Vell
It's nothing like an acting job.
You never get put in a position like this. They never teach you to be here and face what I have been faced with for the last two years. No one can teach you that.
I'm fighting for my life.
Le Vell's private life was also laid bare in court as he admitted to being an alcoholic, having a string of one night stands and an affair as his wife was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.
He said the heavy drinking wasthe result of having the "working-class mentality" of a "bloke".
Le Vell, who is on trial under his real name Michael Turner, told the court he would go to work and then drink to unwind, adding that he would go to the pub most nights.
He spoke in a trembling voice when he told the court that the child sex abuse accusations had left him "like a lost soul."
– Michael Le Vell
How do I feel? I'm devastated, I'm lost. I don't understand where it's come from. It's left such a big hole in life.
I'm like a lost soul and I still want to get to the bottom of why this has happened to me and why I'm being accused of this because I know none of this happened.
I have been walking around for the last two years just not knowing.
Le Vell is accused of 12 charges in all, which are five counts of rape, three of indecent assault, two counts of sexual activity with a child and two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity. He denies all charges.
Miss Laws QC asked the Coronation Street star whether he thought the alleged victim was lying.
Speaking about the girl's evidence in court, Miss Laws said:
- "Pretty good performance, don't you think? If she is lying, very convincing, wasn't it? Almost Oscar-winning?"
- Le Vell replied: "I don't know what you mean by Oscar performance. I couldn't really see, I could only hear."
- She said: "And the thing is that you just don't know why (she is lying)?"
- Le Vell replied: "No, I don't."
- The barrister said: "Unless it is quite simple - you did these things and she is just telling the truth. That is one option, but you don't agree with it?"
- "No, I don't agree with it," he said.
The alleged offences relate to one complainant and are said to have taken place between September 2002 and September 2010.
He is alleged to have raped the girl while she clutched a teddy bear during one attack.
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, wept as she told Manchester Crown Court Le Vell told her it was their "little secret".