Michael Le Vell cleared by jury of assault allegations

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The Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell was acquitted of raping a young girl and sexually assaulting her over several years last night at Manchester Crown Court.

Le Vell, 48, who plays the mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV soap had presented a defence that claimed the girl in question was a fantasist who had set out to ruin him. The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, first told her mother of the alleged assaults in 2011, after which a formal statement was made to police. She gave a particularly horrifying account of her alleged ordeals in the witness box including telling the jury that Le Vell had pressed one of her teddies against her mouth while assaulting her, saying "It's OK, just keep calm, stay asleep … I'm going to get rid of the evil."

Le Vell's barrister, Alisdair Williamson, however had managed to highlight a series of inconsistencies in the girl’s story which was apparently enough to raise reasonable doubt.

Williamson said the girl had told one family friend the attack happened when she was 10, and told other people it happened 10 times. He said: "There's an agonising lack of detail from this witness. She can't give you details because it did not happen, and that's why her story varies according to who she's talking to."

"Had she really been raped as a young child it would have been extremely painful. There wasn't even a muffled scream. She just didn't make a sound. Is that real?" he added – stepping into some very questionable territory.

Le Vell however, despite being found not guilty was exposed as a womanising alcoholic. As Williamson said of his client: "He is a man, not a character; a weak man, a stupid man, a drunk man."

After the verdict Le Vell said: "I'm delighted, obviously - it's a big weight off everyone's shoulders.

"I'd just like to thank my fantastic legal team, my family for their support, security, and I'd like to thank ITV for their continued support throughout this traumatic time for all of us."

And then he mentioned ‘going for a drink’ which in the light of all the revelations about his dissolute ways was possibly not the best note to end on.

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