Bill Roache, known best for his role on Coronation Street and now, for a torrent of rape and abuse allegations made against him, has been cleared of all charges. The 81-year-old actor was accused of raping and sexually assaulting five women between 1960 and 1970, but has been cleared after a three-and-a-half week trial, according to The Guardian.

Bill Roache
Roache has been cleared of all charges.

The 81-year-old actor was accused of having used his privileges to rape a 15-year-old girl and sexually assault four other women. Roache has been on Coronation Street ever since the series’ advent in 1960.

The actor maintained his innocence throughout the trial, claiming he has never met his accusers, let alone abused them in any way. His legal team claimed that the proceedings had been “infected” by the Jimmy Saville posthumous investigation and the subsequent allegations made against others. The "spectre" of Savile loomed large, claimed Roache's barrister, Louise Blackwell QC, as she accused the complainants of jumping on a bandwagon.

Upon leaving the court, Roache refused to address the details of the trial directly, saying instead: "In these situations there are no winners and I think we should all be much kinder to ourselves. Now, if you will excuse me, I would like to get back to work."

Roache may have been vague, but he had very enthusiastic support. The bodyguard, who has ushered him in and out of court for the past three and a half weeks clapped after the verdict was announced. So did one of Roache’s minders.

Bill Roache, Euston Station
After the trial, Roache was reluctant to discuss the proceedings in front of the camera.

It wasn’t an easy call for the jury to make, however. The eight women and four men deliberated for five hours and 59 minutes before coming into court to deliver the verdicts at 11.19am.