Michael Le Vell, a British actor known for his work on the soap opera "Coronation Street", took the stand today at his own trial to deny the rape charges leveled against him by a girl who says he abused her several times.
The girl--who is unnamed for her protection--said that Le Vell raped her repeatedly between 2001 and 2010 and that the reason she was so delayed in going to the authorities about it was that she'd blocked it from her memory. She said she began to have flashbacks--including one instance in which Le Vell allegedly raped her while holding a teddy bear over her mouth--and was confused as to what to do.
"What he did to me was so wrong. I was so young," she said.
Le Vell's defense attorney claims that the girl attended a speech given by a woman who had been abused at a young age and went on to build a successful career as a model, and posed to the jury that perhaps the girl--who reportedly had dreams of becoming a dancer and actress--built a story upon the hope that she could be like that woman.
"Is that what some of this is about? You heard this lady talking about how she was raped when she was very young and how she went on and became a model?" Alisdair Williamson asked.
Le Vell has denied the claims from the beginning, saying his "legs turned to jelly" when he learned he'd been accused of the crimes. After taking the stand, the prosecution asked him if he wasn't just taking on a new acting role while talking to the jury.
"I have indeed but never put in a position like this. They never teach you how to stand up and be here and face something like I'm being faced with for the last two years - no one can teach you that. And I'm just here, yes, I'm fighting for my life," he said.
Le Vell has admitted, over the course of the trial, that he is an alcoholic and has had extra-marital affairs in the past, two things that the prosecution have used as fuel to their arguments. The actor is charged with 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.
"Never in a million years would I do anything like that, never. I'm devastated, I'm lost, I don't understand where it's come from. It's left such a big hole in my life because of these allegations. I still want to get to the bottom of why this is happening to me and why this has happened and why I'm being accused of these things. I know none of it happened," he said.