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Coro star William Roache to face trial in January

Published: 10:31PM Monday June 10, 2013

Coronation Street actor William Roache will face trial in January over allegations of historic sexual offences against five girls.

Roache, 81, was charged in May with two counts of raping a 15-year-old girl in east Lancashire in 1967, and last week faced fresh charges of five indecent assaults involving four girls aged between 11 or 12 and 16.

At a preliminary hearing at Preston Crown Court his trial date was set for January 13. He was bailed until his next court appearance on September 2 when he will enter formal pleas.

The offences are said to have been committed in the Manchester area in 1965 and 1968.

Roache - the world's longest-serving soap actor - has played Ken Barlow in the ITV soap since its launch in 1960, but will not be appearing in the programme until legal proceedings are concluded, dependent on his name being cleared.

The actor's lawyer said he is looking forward to standing before a jury to "vigorously protest his innocence" of the "deeply upsetting" sex charges.

His arrest on the initial charges came weeks after a TVNZ Sunday interview with Europe Correspondent Garth Bray in February in which Roache suggested sex abuse victims were paying for their behaviour in "previous lives".

The actor has previously defended co-star Michael Le Vell who has been charged with 19 sexual offences against a child.