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'Dark secrets are one-night stands'
Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell has told a jury that his "little dark secrets" are a string of one-night stands and not the sexual abuse of a young girl.
The soap actor's private life has been laid bare in court as he admitted being an alcoholic, having one-night stands and an affair - as his wife underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer. But the 48-year-old, who has played Kevin Webster in the ITV1 soap for 30 years, denies he is a child rapist as he defends himself against 12 charges of sexual abuse.
Continuing his cross-examination at Manchester Crown Court by Eleanor Laws QC, prosecuting, Le Vell told the jury of a conversation he had with someone last year about "secrets". He told the person: "I have had a few one-night stands."
He said he had a similar conversation four years ago but did not reveal the secrets. Le Vell agreed also telling the same person that what he had done was "something unforgivable". But he denied ever saying that they would not be believe "what things are inside my head". "You said that?", asked Miss Laws."No," he replied.
The barrister continued: "It would be a very odd thing to have said if you were talking about one-night stands." Le Vell said: "It would not make sense."
Miss Laws said: "I am going to suggest to you that what you were referring to was the abuse that was going on?" "No, not at all," he replied. "There was no abuse going on."
Miss Laws said: "I am going to suggest to you that the secret is not the one-night stands but something far more sinister." "No," said Le Vell. "I totally disagree."
Ms Laws put it to Le Vell that he groomed the victim and gradually "pushed the limits". "Not that you were not ashamed about this but you could not stop it?" Ms Laws said. Le Vell replied: "It never happened."
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claims Le Vell repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped her. Le Vell, real name Michael Turner, denies 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.
At the conclusion of the cross-examination, Alisdair Williamson, defending Le Vell, reminded the jury that his client was a man of good character who had never been arrested or interviewed by police prior to these allegations surfacing. He asked him: "Have you ever got so drunk that you decided to rape (alleged victim)?" "No," the actor replied.
Following the completion of his evidence, Judge Michael Henshell told the jury that his intention was for the two barristers to deliver their closing speeches on Monday.