A girl who claims she was raped by Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell made the allegations after she heard a motivational speech from a sex attack victim, a court heard yesterday.
Le Vell, 48, who plays car mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV soap, is facing 12 charges in all – 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.
The alleged victim broke down in tears in the witness box on Monday as she told the jury of the abuse.
The witness, who is giving evidence from behind a screen at Manchester Crown Court, cannot be identified for legal reasons.
Alisdair Williamson, defending Le Vell, from Cheshire, questioned the girl’s story and motivations, and accused her of lying.
Mr Williamson said the witness had been to an “inspirational self-help” conference and at this event she heard a motivational speech from a woman who was raped at a young age and then went on to rebuild her life and become a success.
He put it to the witness that when she returned she told her family: “It’s all right, I’m part of a special group now.”
The witness said: “I don’t remember saying that.”
Mr Williamson told the court that she seemed “so excited” about it that a family member thought her behaviour was “weird”.
The witness said she did not think she had got excited.
Mr Williamson said: “Is that what some of this is about? You heard this lady talking about how she was raped when she was very young and how she went on and became a model? You want to become an actress or a dancer, is that right?”
She replied: “I wanted to, I don’t any more.”
Earlier, the barrister asked her about alleged inconsistencies in what she had told police.
Mr Williamson suggested that when the girl was interviewed on video by police she said some “silly things” that she has left out of her account given in court.
The lawyer told the court the witness had initially told police she had never talked to anyone about the alleged abuse.
But Mr Williamson claimed the witness had actually “told lots of girls” about it.
“I told two friends because they saw me crying,” the witness replied.
But when police were called in, the girl told the officer she had not told anyone, the court heard.
Mr Williamson continued: “The officer came to see you because you told people and you told the officer a little lie. You told him you had not told the girls, they had just guessed.
“I suggest that was a little lie?”
“No,” the witness replied.
Mr Williamson said in police interviews the girl claimed to remember the exact times when the alleged rapes took place – and she claimed two of the rapes happened at exactly the same time.
Mr Williamson continued: “Was it a detail you were putting in to make you more convincing and you now realise it sounds a bit silly?”
“No,” she replied.
“It didn’t happen,” Mr Williamson said.
“It did,” the witness replied.
After the alleged victim had finished testifying, the girl’s mother broke down in tears as she described the moment her daughter told her about the alleged abuse.
She told Eleanor Laws QC, prosecuting, that her daughter said: “I just remember all the times he [Le Vell] raped me.”
She said her daughter spoke about the alleged abuse after attending a self-help conference and that the girl was “very calm” and told her that she remembered the alleged attacks “all the time”.
The woman, who cannot be identified, broke down and shakily took a drink of water before carrying on.
Asked by Ms Laws what she thought happened to her daughter, she replied: “I believe he [Le Vell] had molested and abused her on a regular basis and there have been a number of rapes.”
The trial continues.