Originally arrested in 2011, unsatisfactory evidence meant accusations were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Still, the victim remained resilient, coming forward with fresh allegations that made the CPS review evidence against the Mancunian treasure; leading to his February arrest, and a hellish eight-day trial at Manchester Crown Court.
Prosecution from Eleanor Laws QC made a prize show cow out of Le Vell, bringing his alcoholism and serial adultery to the surface, amid other shocking claims.Truths darker than the bottom of the ocean came to light, with confessions of repeated cheating on his cancer-stricken wife of twenty-five years, when diving for the bottle. Pints were also said to be the cause of five counts of rape, and seven other sexual offences.
Though his own defence declared him a bad husband and a drunk, the jury also believed he is not a paedophile. The panel of 12 stated he was the victim of a crusade to tarnish an already scarred character. They could not possibly convict with evidence seen to be “inconsistent, incoherent and unbelievable”. What they saw was a man accused of “the most unbelievable and terrible thing.”
However, even if every detail from the un-named sixteen year old is truly fictitious, her barrister raised an important issue. Le Vell - and fellow Coronation Street veteran, William Roache - are both adored and accused of child molestation. Just how bias can a jury become when over thirty years of TV love stands before them?
Despite Law’s vile outing of Le Vell’s secrets, she was right to argue, “No one likes to think someone they liked or admired has done anything like this.” Also, her client could not possibly gain anything, when un-named to the press for legality. If she wanted notoriety, she could have pulled the case and came out with her true identity.
Still, what remains clear is a potential backlash resulting from this high profile case. Despite support from ITV and cast members, viewers truly decide Kevin Webster’s future. If thousands tune out because they believe the dogma, Webster may find himself waiting for another doomed tram.
No matter the acquittal, Le Vell’s hidden secrets have been made public and will follow him like a hungry mosquito. And a known alcoholic celebrating with a pint won’t sit well on the palettes of older Coronation Street viewers.