Bill Roache held over rape claim

Coronation Street actor Bill Roache.
Coronation Street actor Bill Roache.
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Coronation Street actor Bill Roache has been arrested for rape.

The actor, who has played Ken Barlow in the TV soap for decades, was held at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, this morning.

Roache, 81, faces an allegation of raping an under-age girl in Lancashire between April and July 1967.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “An 81-year-old man from Wilmslow in Cheshire has this morning, Wednesday May 1 2013, been arrested by Lancashire Constabulary on suspicion of rape.

“The man will be interviewed at a police station in Lancashire during the course of the day.

“We take all allegations of sexual abuse extremely seriously and would encourage people with any information about sexual abuse, or anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, to come forward and report their concerns confident in the knowledge they will be investigated appropriately and with sensitivity.”

An ITV spokeswoman said the broadcaster was not in a position to comment, but it is understood Roache will not appear in the long-running soap while investigations continue.

In March Roache issued an apology after he appeared to suggest sex abuse victims were being punished for past sins.

The actor was interviewed for a New Zealand news programme and said the public should not be judgmental but be “totally forgiving” of people who had committed child sex crimes.

He told the programme: “If you accept that you are pure love, and if you know that you are pure love and therefore live that pure love, these things won’t happen to you.”

Asked to clarify whether that meant victims brought the abuse on themselves, he said: “No, not quite, but and yet I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives or whatever.”

He also called for anonymity for those accused of child sex offences because of the stigma they faced even if innocent.

Roache later issued a statement saying he was “sorry for any offence that has been caused as a result of my comments”.

His comments were condemned by abuse charities.

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