VETERAN Coronation Street actor William Roache has been tonight charged with five historic offences of indecent assault involving four girls.
The 81-year-old from Wilmslow, Cheshire, was arrested this morning after attending a police station in Lancashire by appointment.
In a statement, Lancashire Constabulary said: “The offences are alleged to have been committed in the Manchester area between 1965 and 1968 and to involve four girls aged between 12 and 16 years at the time.”
Roache was released on police bail to attend Preston Magistrates’ Court tomorrow.
The Crown Prosecution Service said three of the offences allegedly took place in 1965 and two in 1968.
Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West, said: “We have carefully considered all the evidence gathered by Lancashire Police in relation to recent allegations from four complainants that William Roache indecently assaulted them in the 1960s.
“Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Roache to be charged with five offences of indecent assault relating to four girls who were aged between 11 or 12 and 16 at the time that the alleged offences happened.
“We have been reviewing evidence and providing early investigative advice to Lancashire Police regarding these allegations, which were made to police after Mr Roache was charged with two offences of rape on 1 May 2013.
“This decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and our guidance for prosecutors on sexual offences. Mr Roache has a right to a fair trial and it is therefore very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial. For these reasons, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.”
Roache - the world’s longest-serving soap actor - has played Ken Barlow in the ITV1 soap since its launch, but will not be appearing in the programme until legal proceedings are concluded.
He collected an award from Guinness World Records in 2010 for his long service in Coronation Street, having joined in 1960 and appeared regularly ever since.