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Coronation Street's Michael Le Vell to face child rape charges

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KEVIN WEBSTER.JPGMichael Le Vell, who has played Corrie's resident garage mechanic Kevin Webster since 1983, has been charged with a string of sexual offences, including one of child rape.

Mr Le Vell, real name Michael Turner, is due before magistrates in Manchester on 27 February. In a statement released by the actor, he said he would fight the charges "vigorously".

He faces a total of 19 charges relating to crimes allegedly committed between 2001 and 2010.

Alison Levitt QC, principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions, said she had reviewed a decision not to prosecute Mr Le Vell following allegations made against him in 2011.

She said: "I have very carefully reviewed the evidence in this case and I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Michael Robert Turner with a number of sexual offences.

"I have authorised Greater Manchester Police to charge Mr Turner with 19 offences, including rape of a child.

"Mr Turner has now been charged with criminal offences and has a right to a fair trial."

The actor, from Hale in Greater Manchester, has played the role of garage mechanic Kevin Webster for 30 years, making him one of the longest-serving performers in Coronation Street.

An ITV spokesman said: "Given the serious nature of these charges, Michael Le Vell will not be appearing in Coronation Street pending the outcome of legal proceedings.

"It would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time."

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