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Le Vell's accuser 'not twisted'
The "courage" of the alleged sex abuse victim of Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell must be marked by guilty verdicts if she was telling the truth, jurors have been told before they retired to consider their verdict.
His accuser had no reason to lie and the only explanation for her allegations was that it was the "uncomfortable truth", the court heard.
Delivering her closing speech, prosecutor Eleanor Laws QC urged the jury of eight women and four men to concentrate closely on the evidence of the alleged victim. "You saw her as bubbly, lovely, naive, so lovely," she said. "She was not twisted."
The actor, who has played garage mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV1 soap for 30 years, is being tried under his real name Michael Turner at Manchester Crown Court. He is accused of sexually assaulting and raping a young girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Le Vell, 48, denies 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.
Miss Laws told the jury: "You are the most important people in the courtroom. It is you who decide the facts. At the end of the day it is your collective decision that is important." Asking jurors to disregard media reports, she said: "Concentrate on what you do know because you, members of the jury, actually saw (the alleged victim) give evidence."
She said they may have "strong feelings" about these type of allegations. She said: "For example, before we started this trial, some of you may have thought there seems to be a lot of prosecutions of celebrities. 'Is there some kind of witch-hunt? Has the world gone mad?' No-one likes to think that someone they liked or admired has done anything like this."
Alisdair Williamson gave the closing speech for the defence. He began by saying it was a "strange case of child rape" without any evidence of blood or semen or injuries to the alleged victim. "Welcome to the prosecution's hall of mirrors," he told the jury. "Where up is down and left is right."
Mr Williamson suggested the girl had given differing accounts of the frequency and details of the alleged abuse to her mother, her friends and to the police. "You are going to throw a man's life away? You are going to cast him to the outer darkness of being a child rapist?" Mr Williamson continued. "Where is the consistency, the solidity of evidence on which you are going to be sure? Not there, simply not there."
He added: "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." Mr Williamson said the defendant was a "drunk, bad husband and inadequate father" whose behaviour was sometimes "terrible", but he is not a child rapist.