08:08 11 September 2013
The jury of eight women and four men have acquitted Michael Le Vell of raping a young girl and subjecting her to other serious sexual assaults for a number of years. 48-year-old Le Vell, who plays Kevin Webster in Coronation Street, told the jury that he was fighting for his life. Speaking outside of the court, the actor, who was clearly delighted with the verdict, thanked his family and ITV for their support.
His accuser, who remained to be unnamed, claimed that Le Vell abused her from the age of six until she was 14. However, Alisdair Williamson, for the defence, said that Michael’s accuser, who is now 17 years old, gave evidence that was inconsistent, unbelievable with “agonising lack of detail.”
The actor is now expected to return to the soap after two years. An ITV spokesman said: "We are looking forward to meeting with Michael to discuss his return to the programme."
Le Vell was initially arrested on September 30, 2011. However, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to proceed with the case. However, following fresh allegations by the girl, the actor was charged in February 2013.
The spokesperson for the CPS said: "As these were very serious allegations of child sexual abuse it therefore followed that it was in the public interest to place that evidence before a jury at court.
"It is for the jury to determine whether a defendant is guilty or not and we of course respect the verdicts they have reached today."
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