Actor William Roache has been speaking for the first time since he was found not guilty of sexual accusations.

Coronation Street veteran William Roache thanked friends and colleagues for their support and said he is looking forward to returning to work in a statement made outside court earlier today.

The 81-year-old actor who has played Ken Barlow, on and off, since Coronation Street’s first episode in 1960 had been on trial at Preston Crown Court over the allegations which first came to light in May last year when he was arrested at his home in Cheshire.

Five women had made claims that Roache, who admitted having affairs while married, had assaulted them, when they were aged 16 or under, while he was at the height of his fame on the Granada Television soap between 1965 and 1971.

Earlier today a jury returned a verdict of not guilty on all counts against him.

Speaking outside court following the verdict, Roache said:

I’d like to thank my colleagues and friends who have supported me through this and all those people who I don’t even know, who have sent me great support.

 

I’ve just got one thing to say. In these situations, there are no winners and I think we should all be much kinder to ourselves. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to get back to work.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Coronation Street told ATV Today: “We look forward to talking to Bill soon about his return to work.”

Roache has been absent from the soap since April 2013 following the allegations being made. To explain Ken’s absence from storylines, writers said that he was visiting his grandson Adam in Canada.

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