Live updates

Ex-Corrie press officer always believed in Bill Roache

Coronation Street's press officer for more than 20 years said she never believed Bill Roache was guilty after the actor was acquitted of a string of sexual offences today.

Leta Donn gave evidence at Roache's trial where he was accused of a series of sexual offences dating back to his early days on the ITV soap.

The 81-year-old was cleared of all charges today at Preston Crown Court.

Leta Donn gave evidence at Roache's trial. Credit: ITV News

"That is not the Bill I know. He would never harm any young girls. I once asked him outright, I said: 'You are my good friend. I will stick up for you whatever but you can be honest with me. Yes or no?'"

"He said: 'I promise you no'."

Watch: Former Corrie star wells up at Bill Roache verdicts

Advertisement

Bill Roache 'biggest ambassador Corrie ever had'

William Roache is the "biggest ambassador Coronation Street ever had", according to a former actor in the ITV soap.

The 81-year-old actor was cleared of two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault by a jury at Preston Crown Court today after a four-week-trial.

Bruce Jones, who played Les Battersby from 1997 until 2007, said Roache was an "absolute gentleman of a man" who was loyal and a good friend.

Read: Coronation Street actor William Roache insists there are 'no winners' after acquittal

CPS says Roache case was treated same as any other

William Roache's case was treated the same as any other and the "allegations and evidence mattered and nothing else", the Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said.

The Coronation Street actor, 81, was cleared of two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault at Preston Crown Court today.

William Roache has been found not guilty by a jury at Preston Crown Court of two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault. Credit: PA Wire

“We have a duty to those who make complaints of serious offences to listen to the allegations, and assess the evidence against the same evidential standards we use for all criminal cases, no matter who makes the complaint, or who the complaint is against," Nazir Afzal said.

“This case was treated like any other - what mattered were the allegations and the evidence and nothing else, and we fully respect the decisions of the jury and thank them for their careful deliberation.”

Watch: Hamilton says it is time to review anonymity procedures

Corrie actress: 'Ken, there's a pint waiting for you'

Coronation Street actress Beverly Callard, who plays Liz McDonald in the ITV soap, has said "there's a pint waiting for you in The Rovers" for William Roache's character Ken Barlow after the 81-year-old was cleared of all charges.

A jury found Roache not guilty of two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault at Preston Crown Court earlier today.

A6ba7b5bf51be5c4038d236d9172782a_normal

Ken, there's a pint waiting for you in The Rovers. Love ya!!! X

Actor Antony Cotton, who plays Sean Tully, added: "The truth will always out."

Read: Police 'entirely respect the verdict' in Bill Roache trial

Advertisement

Hamilton: Time to review anonymity procedures

Christine Hamilton has said the time has come to review anonymity procedures to give defendants greater protection after the acquittal of actor Bill Roache.

Hamilton, who along with her husband has been subject to sex allegations, admitted that every single case was different but claimed the "pendulum has swung too far" in the direction of those making the allegations.

The 64-year-old, who has been friends with the Coronation Street actor for 30 years, said she was "thrilled and delighted" for Roache and never doubted his innocence.

Watch: Former Corrie star wells up at Bill Roache verdicts

Police 'entirely respect the verdict' in Bill Roache trial

Lancashire Constabulary has released the following statement following actor Bill Roache's acquittal at Preston Crown Court today:

These very serious allegations were thoroughly and professionally investigated by a team of specialist detectives ...

The jury has had an opportunity over the course of the trial to hear and fully consider the evidence presented by both the prosecution and the defence.

We entirely respect the verdict reached by the jury today; the burden of proof in our system is quite rightly very high and we thank them for considering this matter so carefully.

The Constabulary remain committed to investigating allegations of this nature, no matter how historic, and would encourage anyone who has been a victim of a sexual offence to come forward safe in the knowledge that they will be treated sensitively and professionally.

Former Corrie star wells up at Bill Roache verdicts

Former Coronation Street actress Sherrie Hewson welled up on live TV as the verdicts in the Bill Roache trial were announced.

Speaking on ITV This Morning, she said she was "so thrilled", but added that it "should never, ever have gone this far".

See more of the interview with Sherrie here

The actress, who played Maureen Webster in the 1990s and again in 2006, said: "We've all backed him for so long and I just thank God for this day.

"We all know Bill. We've worked with him, we know of his innocence and we knew right from the beginning - this should never, ever have gone this far."

Explaining what it has been like amongst his friends, Sherrie said, "I can't tell you the emotional release now for me - let alone him and his family for God's sake".

Read: Coronation Street star Bill Roache cleared of all charges

Load more updates

Advertisement

Today's top stories